Research Report 2021

Making the AfCFTA Promises a Reality for African Youth A continental Study on Capacity Gaps, Policy Constraints and Prospects of Youth inclusion in AfCFTA

The overall goal of this continental study on Making the AfCFTA Promises a Reality for African Youth; a continental study on capacity gaps, policy constraints and prospects of youth inclusion in AfCFTA, is to advance the structural inclusion of youth in the AfCFTA processes, as means of integration and sustainable development on the continent by exploring the prospects for expanded industrialisation, markets and trade opportunities for the youth.

The study reflects on the role African youth have, and should play in the implementation of the AfCFTA, and the support relevant stakeholders should extend to enable meaningful participation of youth in AfCFTA. Analysis and findings offer both challenges and opportunities and make timely stakeholder-specific call to action for governments, development partners, private sector, civil society, academia and other critical players.

Findings show a huge information deficit - whereas some youth have heard about AfCFTA mainly through social media, a large number do not have the knowledge on how to make good of the agreement, and how they can be active participants and contributors in the implementation processes. Findings further demonstrate that the existing frameworks at national, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), and continental levels, do not specifically accommodate the youth and other vulnerable groups such as persons abled differently and women.

As a monitoring and evaluation mechanism for African governments, development partners, the private sector and other key actors investing in youth entrepreneurship innovation capacity skills, and taking proactive measures to include young business and economic leadership decision-making associated with the AfCFTA processes, the study suggests the establishment of an “AfCFTA Implementation Progress Index” as an indicator of impact, contribution and successes of youth inclusion in AfCFTA going forward



African Youth Voices on
Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement

This report highlights the conversations and critical outcomes and recommendations outlined by youth during the summer boot camp on the AfCFTA. In other words, this report will not provide a critical summary of the AfCFTA and its different axes and implementation tools, but will rather expand on the concerns, projections, and participatory role in which young Africans situate themselves.

The Inaugural Continental Business Leaders and Policy Makers Summer Boot camp on the AfCFTA brought together young business leaders and policy makers and sought to enrich their basic understanding of the AfCFTA, especially the requirements one needs to fulfil in order to be able to trade under the AfCFTA framework such as Rules of Origin (ROO) and other relevant articles, bringing to light the AfCFTA negotiation processes and its multiple phases.

The Boot Camp was held between November 1st and 5th 2021, with the intent to open dialogues, and explore the multiple opportunities of African youth and encourage them to lead at various capacities to accelerate the implementation of the AfCFTA.

Among others, a key outcome of the boot camp was the establishment of the Independent Continental Youth Advisory Council on AfCFTA (ICOYACA). The ICOYACA brings together Boot camp alumni, and serves as a collaborative space to advance the learnings, outcomes and recommendations developed during the AfCFTA boot camp.


YouLead Summit Goes Africa!

YouLead Summit Goes Africa!

The YouLead Summit is YouLead's annual climax event, and is now Africa's largest and most diverse forum of young leaders, mentors, government policy makers, development partners, private sector, academia, media and civil society from all over Africa to craft responses to the continent's rapidly growing youth population, their challenges and opportunities.

YouLead Summit 2021 hosted the Inaugural Africa-wide audience, between November 8th and 12th 2021, via a virtual and physical platform, with the Inaugural Arusha Debates ( and the launch of the EAC Youth Agenda. commissioned by H.E Jakaya Mwirisho Kikwete, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania who is also YouLead'sPatron.

Through this report, readers will gain insights into the Summit across the 5 days, which engaged 51 speakers, 300 in-person and 10, 000 virtual participants in thought-provoking discussions under the theme, "The Future of Africa: Creating jobs, Feeding and Housing the World's Youngest Continent, in terms of political and economic development for young people."

Among others, key outcomes of the Summit include the launch of the process of designing and developing an EAC Youth Leadership Fellowship- Leaders for the EAC we want, the expression of interest by the Young Parliamentarians to establish an EAC Parliamentary Forum on Youth Affairs, and the expression of interest by National Youth Council Chairpersons in the EAC region to establish a Cooperation Agreement that will facilitate their working together on addressing youth issues including advocacy on the speeding up of establishment of the EAC Youth Council. The Independent Continental Youth Advisory Council on AfCFTA was also inaugurated at the summit.