Oyewole sees the increasing attention on youth on the two continents as a timely response to a common priority: "This is a defining moment for the youth, both in Africa and Europe. For the first time, youth is at the centre of discussion, it is not a misplaced priority."
Oyewole is the Executive Director for Africa at the Organisation for World Peace. He is one of the 36 young persons selected from both continents to participate in the Youth Plug-In initiative, a follow-up action to the Abidjan Summit. The group is tasked with the responsibility of articulating deliverables to feed into the AU-EU Summit, including youth involvement in the institutional processes of EU-AU cooperation. The Declaration addresses six focal areas, namely: Education and Skills; Business, Job Creation and Entrepreneurship; Governance, Political and Democratic Inclusion and Activism; Peace and Security, including Countering Violent Extremism and Radicalisation; Environment Preservation and Climate Change; and Culture, Arts and Sports.
Expectedly, Oyewole is working in the area of peace and security, and is excited about the assignment: "The Summit is about investing in youth. At a time when we are confronted with issues ranging from migration, violent extremism and radicalisation in both Africa and Europe, getting youth involved is timely, if not overdue." The group will begin its preliminary session in Addis Ababa this week, before moving to Brussels for another session, just before the EU-AU Summit in November in Abidjan.
According to him, given that the AU's focus for the year is tapping into a the dividends of a demography that is skewed in favour of young people, and considering that Agenda 2063 is still a long way off, "youth have to be part of the process in order to carry on the vision." Oyewole, 30, holds a Master's degree in Governance and Regional Integration.
Youth leaders can participate in the conference online by following the hashtag #AUEUYPII on the Facebook and Twitter. They equally can visit www.aueuypii.org to contribute to the youth agenda.