The Principal Secretary, State Department for Youth Affairs and the Arts, Mr. Ismail Maalim Madey, played a pivotal role at the IGAD High-Level technical experts meeting and ministerial conference which took place on 27th September 2023 at Fairmont The Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi. This remarkable event, held in collaboration with the Horn of Africa Youth Network (HoAYN) and Save the Children, marked a significant milestone in advancing youth empowerment and meaningful participation across the region.

PS Ismail Maalim Madey, representing the Cabinet Secretary for Youth Affairs, the Arts and Sports Hon. Ababu Namwamba, graced the event, which culminated in concrete steps to uplift the youth of the Horn of Africa.

At the heart of the conference was the adoption of the IGAD Youth Policy by the Council of Ministers responsible for Youth Affairs in the region. This historic moment signifies a united commitment towards prioritizing youth rights and empowerment. Through extensive consultations with technical experts, National Youth Councils, youth-led organizations, and the IGAD Secretariat, the policy has been carefully crafted to guide and mainstream youth priorities in policies, laws, and programs.

The adoption of the IGAD Youth Policy sets forth a comprehensive roadmap for youth development in the region. It emphasizes the importance of empowering youth and ensuring their meaningful participation in political processes. The policy will serve as a guide to member states in formulating youth-centric laws, policies, and programs that address the diverse needs of young people.

With the adoption of the IGAD Youth Policy, the conference also witnessed the development of a detailed roadmap and action plan for its implementation. Technical experts, ministers, and stakeholders came together to chart a course of action that would transform policy objectives into tangible programs and initiatives. The roadmap aims to provide the necessary support, resources, and opportunities for the youth to thrive, enabling them to actively contribute to their societies and drive positive change.

During the event, PS Madey, reiterated the firm support of the Kenyan government in the development and adoption of the IGAD Youth Policy. He expressed confidence in working closely with the IGAD Secretariat and young people to ensure its successful implementation. This commitment from the Kenyan government serves as a beacon of hope, inspiring other member states to take proactive measures to empower their youth.

The conclusion of the IGAD Youth Policy adoption meeting marks a pivotal moment for youth empowerment in the Horn of Africa. The united efforts of member states, technical experts, and stakeholders reflect a shared vision for a brighter future. By harnessing the energy and potential of the region’s youth population, the IGAD Youth Policy aims to create an inclusive and prosperous society where young people actively participate and contribute to political, social, and economic processes.

As the policy sets in motion, member states are expected to proactively implement its provisions, leading to positive and transformative changes in the lives of young people. With enhanced collaboration and targeted interventions, the Horn of Africa is poised to witness a generation of empowered and engaged youth, propelling the region towards sustainable development and prosperity for all.