Dar es Salaam. European Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen on Wednesday launched the EU Youth Action Plan in Africa here, describing issues affecting young people as “very close to my heart.”
Ms Urpilainen is in Tanzania for an official visit since Tuesday where she has been meeting with high-level government officials, including Finance and Planning Minister Mwigulu Nchemba.
Also high on her agenda, was the launch of the EU Youth Action Plan in Tanzania, an action plan aimed at engaging, connecting, and empowering youth across the globe.
The Youth Action Plan is the first-ever policy framework by the European Union (EU) for a strategic partnership with young people worldwide.
Among other purposes, the plan aims at increasing young people’s voices in policy and decision-making, fighting inequalities and providing young people with the skills and tools they need and fostering networks of youth across the globe.
In Tanzania, the Youth Action Plan is part of the EU’s 426 million euros committed to Tanzania by the block for the year 2021 to 2024.
The new action plan is set to assist youth organizations in accessing some of the financing opportunities that in the past would be hard to access due to tough requirements, Ms Urpilainen told journalists during an interview on Wednesday.
“We want to listen to them more,” she said, highlighting the importance of youth participating in decision-making. “I was elected as a Member of the Finnish Parliament at 27 years old. I am no longer a youth but I understand the experience.”
“I acknowledge peace and development are part of the same coin,” added the senior EU official. “We have to be able to provide opportunities to empower people and education is one of the ways.”
The EU is looking to support the government on education through, in part, increasing access to secondary schools as well as ensuring Tanzanian youth gain essential skills through vocational training that would help them with self-employment, Ms Urpilainen explained.
Tanzanian youth will also benefit from the Action Plan by joining the network of EU-Africa young leaders as well as receiving opportunities for scholarships through the Erasmus plus scholarship.
Ms Urpilainen is expected to leave Tanzania for Malawi where she is also scheduled to meet with senior government officials there.