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S. Sudan reviews youth policy to curb unemployment

August 29, 2013 (JUBA) – The high unemployment rate among South Sudanese youth will soon be a thing of the past, should government unveil its new policy guidelines, an official said.

SSYPA board chairman Angelo Diing speaks at the symposium, August 28, 2013 (ST)

Peter Baptist Abaker, undersecretary in the culture, youth and sports ministry disclosed that a review of the 2006-2007 youth policy, which took five months, has been finalised.

“We have completed the review [of the policy]. The youth cited insecurity, unemployment, lack of basic and quality education and health issues as the major problems affecting them,” he told a youth symposium held in the South Sudan capital.

Today’s youth, Abaker stressed, should actively be involved in decision making processes, adding that the contribution of young people in nation building processes cannot be underestimated.

The youth, according to the 2008 Sudan Housing and Population census, constituted over 70% of the South Sudanese population. It considered a youth as anyone between 18-35 years.

Experts from Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Rwanda were invited to share experiences from their respective countries on the constitutional building process.

Biong Deng, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) South Sudan representative said youth, all over the world, play vital roles in any constitutional making process.

“[International] IDEA strongly believes that any constitutional building process should be participator. The youth of South Sudan, being the majority, have to own the process,” he said.

Deng, however, stressed that the active involvement of young people will only be realised, if South Sudan government fully supports the youth in the constitutional building and making process.

Recently, South Sudan Youth Participation Agency (SSYPA), initiated youth dialogue forums; a project earmarked to champion peace, democracy and constitution-building in the two-year old nation.

Participants attentively follow proceedings during the symposium, August 28, 2013 (ST)

“The aim of the forum is to structurally transform the way that youth participate in the civic and political arena so that they can play a substantial and positive role in supporting the peace, service delivery and democratization process in South Sudan through constructive dialogue,” said Samuel Okomi, the director of SSYPA.

The project, he further told the symposium, also envisions mobilizing the traditionally marginalized youth’s voice from across dividing lines to work as one force for democracy, service delivery and peace.

“It aims at creating multiple channels that will enable youth to influence the democratization, peace and constitution building process,” he stressed.

The three-day symposium on civil society roles in the constitutional building process was organised by International IDEA in partnership with SSYPA.