Ghazaly was a guest of the African Union on International Youth Day
Anthropologist Hassan Ghazaly, the Secretary-General of the Pan African Foundation for Development and Capacity Building and an expert in youth, culture, sports, and media policies, spoke on August 14 at the African Union Commission's Youth Volunteerism Platform on the role of the African Free Trade Agreement in enhancing cross-border volunteering and employment opportunities. The event was attended by members of the coordinated bodies of the member states responsible for youth volunteering, the Secretariat of the African Free Trade Agreement, member state bodies responsible for the agreement, as well as youth leaders, partners, and stakeholders, including representatives from the United Nations Development Program, the International Labour Organization, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the Economic Commission for African States, representatives from VSO and its experts, as well as invited partners working in the field of volunteering representing civil society organizations and the public sector, university experts involved in volunteering and activating the agreement through youth, as well as experts from regional infrastructure bodies responsible for promoting volunteering and employment in the African Free Trade Agreement region.
In the same context, the session discussed several important aspects, including ways to reduce barriers to cross-border volunteering, as well as how to provide an enabling political environment through the African Free Trade Agreement. Additionally, they discussed mechanisms to increase cross-border volunteering opportunities and the role of the agreement in enhancing cross-border employment and its impact on solidifying African unity principles and values.
At the beginning of his speech, Ghazaly emphasized the need to activate continental youth documents, such as the "Youth and Volunteering Framework Document within the African Union," the "Continental Youth Employment Strategy," and the "Framework Document Defining the Role of Youth and Women in Peace and Security," and integrate them into the framework of the African Free Trade Agreement to ensure strong youth participation and enhance their role in expediting the implementation of the African Free Trade Area.
In a related context, Ghazaly mentioned several recommendations and proposals that should be adopted by the Secretariat of the African Free Trade Area as mechanisms to reduce obstacles to volunteering by ensuring the free movement of volunteers across African Union member states. These include the establishment of regional volunteer teams, calling for bilateral agreements for volunteer exchange, setting up cross-border volunteer support centers, and the importance of providing incentives and facilitations for continental organizations and institutions sponsoring volunteers. He also recommended the rapid development of cross-border volunteer programs spanning multiple countries within the union, with a focus on specific areas such as education, healthcare, environmental preservation, and disaster relief.
Ghazaly concluded by emphasizing that expediting the implementation of the African Free Trade Agreement will result in the creation of numerous new job opportunities for youth. He noted that the ability of the African Continental Free Trade Area to facilitate employment will depend on various factors, including implementation, policies, and the youth's ability to access these opportunities.