Cities of Opportunities – Connecting Culture & Innovation - WUF10 (8-13 February 2020, Abu Dhabi, UAE)
11 Feb 2020 - With a population of over 1 Billion people of whom 65% are below the age of 35 years, Africa is indeed a youthful continent, which presents both opportunities and challenges. Currently, it is estimated that Africans aged 15-35 make up roughly 40% of its population with its majority living in urban areas (cities), yet these cities are engines of economic growth and prosperity in developing countries. Further, there has recently been a conscious push for cities across the globe to be smart and even smarter and thus more sustainable by developing and implementing big data technologies and their applications across various urban domains in the hopes of reaching the required level of sustainability and improving the living standard of citizens . What will the role of urban youth be in pursuit of smarter and smarter cities? There are opportunities for the creation of linkages among urban youth from different countries to allow for mutual learning and co-creating of innovative solutions that can be localized to solve some of the challenges in urban areas. South-South Co-operation is a demonstration of solidarity among developing countries- the creation of networks and partnerships based on several principles including that of mutual benefits through modalities such as technical expertise exchanges, knowledge sharing and peer-to-peer learning. UNOSSC facilitates dialogues and connections as well as technical support in defining frameworks for cooperation between entities. In 2018, UN- Habitat launched and spearheaded the urban discussion at the YouthConnekt Africa Summit with the aim to influence, enhance and develop policy, programmes and partnerships towards sustainable job creation, entrepreneurship, education and skills, civic participation and leadership, technology, innovation and networks for youth. The session opened up dialogues and came up with integrated cross cutting innovations such as access to financing, digitalization, art, sports and culture to enhance results for economic transformation for the continent within the South- South Cooperation Framework. This year UN-Habitat continued the urban discussions that were very interactive and initiated further dialogue of programs and partnerships. The recommendations from the YouthConnekt Urban Sessions will feed into the youth strategy which will be a working document that will guide the implementation of the programs. A South-South Cooperation booth will also be set-up for the duration of the Forum to further engage Forum participants on the opportunities that lie in this development framework.