Young Africans Keen to telling the Pan African Stories on Extractives Gender and Inequality

Young Africans Keen to telling the Pan African Stories on Extractives Gender and Inequality
Young people from across the different regional blocs in Africa are keen to tell the pan African story on Extractives, Gender and Inequality. This was reflected from the recently ended First Pan African Youth Essay Competition commissioned by All Africa Conference of Churches, Norwegian Church Aid and Youth For Tax Justice Network. 
The essay competition was an opportunity for young people to learn research and write on the issues of Extractive Industries, Gender and Inequality in Africa. The essay competition provided a platform for youth across the African continent to research, critically analyse, write and share ideas on the linkages between the extractive industries, gender and inequality in Africa and most importantly to make recommendations on how the extractive industries can be fully leveraged to fight the scourge of inequality in Africa.
121 young writers between the ages of 15 to 35 submitted their well-written essay. The essays were written in French, Portuguese and English, representing the diverse voices we have on the continent. After a thorough and difficult adjudication process, the following were selected as the ten top essays: 
Age group 15-18
  1. Katleho Mokhele, Connecting The Treasures in Earth and Humanity, Lesotho
Age group 19-25
  1. Tawanda Pasipanodya, The Perpetuation of Gender Inequality through the Political Institutionalisation of Zimbabwe’s Mining Industry
  2. Florence Brazil, Promoting Gender Equality in the Extractives Industry in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities.
  3. Nater Paul Akpen, Engendering Equity In Extractives
  4. Linda Masudze, An Analysis of the Legal Framework Governing Women and Children’s Rights in the Mining Sector in Zimbabwe.
Age group 26-35
  1. Nick Waithaka Muhiu,  Enhancing the Extractive Industry to Fight Inequality and Gender Bias in Africa
  2. Funoh Nwokwantoue Kevin, Scuffling Inequality and the Poverty Cycle: Enhancing the Role of Women in artisanal gold mining in east Cameroon
  3. Aubren Chirwa, Artisanal Mining Policies and Perpetuation of Women Low Socio-Economic Status in Democratic Republic of Congo
  4. Learnmore Nyamudzanga, Africa We Want: Using Linkages, investment and diversification under African mining vision to fight inequality, dealing with gender issues and empowering youth 
French/Portuguese Translation Category
  1. Grace Pericles Mongo Bouya, Industrie extractive du genre et la lutte contre les inégalités en Afrique
The winners were announced on a closing ceremony that was held online, Thursday, 17 December 2020. The essays will be published in a compendium that will be accessible online. Winners will receive prize gifts. 
Collins Shava, the Executive Secretary for Youth at the AACC said, “This was quite an interesting process, I want to thank the young African writers for their efforts in coming up with the essays. The gap between the rich and the poor is increasing in Africa, despite the presence and the extraction of natural resources on the continent, a large population still do not have access to basic commodities. In this essay competition, recognizing that Africa is our home, our future the youth stepped up to provide solutions of how natural resources can work for the people and how we can end inequality on the continent.”
It is important for young people to be part of the transformation of Africa.  Moreblessings Chidaushe, Norwegian Church Aid representative in South Africa had this to say, “the Pan African Youth essay is a critical  tool that can be used to bring the African youth voice to the fore of the continent’s development agenda. By researching on the various topics, the youth get to deepen their knowledge, appreciation and understanding of key issues affecting the continent and therefore how they can participate actively. This is a tool to invest in the future of  Africa by creating future generations that are conscious of the issues that affect the continent and therefore an active African citizenry”
Lastly, the organizers would like to thank the young people who participated in this essay competition. This was only the beginning of a process; there will be more similar events to keep the youth actively engaged moving forward. A special mention to the adjudication team, Abena Afari from Ghana, Tinashe Gumbo from Zimbabwe and Lyla Latif from Kenya. Our gratitude also goes to the team at Youth for Tax Justice Network for the work behind the scenes. They played a central role in this process. The fight against inequality will still go on in 2021. The organizers are keen to create new spaces for youth engagement. This year the organizers will launch a mentorship program to assist young people who want to write essays, papers and blogs. The Second Pan African Youth Essay Competition will be launched in February, keep following this space.
By Youth Essay Team

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