The African Youth Forum on Science and Technology (AYFST) was initiated by the African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS) in 2005 in collaboration with the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation - CTA, the Netherlands. Since then, the AYFST has provided a useful platform for African Young Professionals to build capacity in ST&I policy research, policy dialogue and policy practice. The forum (and its website http://www.ayfst.org) was formerly launched during the second African youth congress on science and technology in Accra, Ghana co-organised by the African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS) CTA, CSIR, among other partners. The ATPS will continue to manage the AYFST website and its secretariat based at the ATPS headquarters in Nairobi Kenya.
Young people worldwide and in Africa particularly are disadvantaged in many ways. They have countless concerns that need to be addressed but very minimal channels at their disposal. Such major concerns include bridging the inter and intra-generational isolation, mentorship avenues, fabricating a popular constituency for science and technology in Africa, disseminating information and expertise as well as embracing the voices of the youth in policy making.
ATPS in conjunction with CTA organised the first youth congress, which was held in June 2005 in Nairobi, Kenya. That year’s theme was Youth and unemployment/Wealth Creation: Opportunities in Agriculture, Science and Technology. It marked the beginning of broad collective youth engagement in youth led development network. This forum drew over 80 brilliant innovators from 21 African countries with diverse backgrounds. Among other issues, the obstacles facing the young generation in their pursuit for employment and wealth creation for Africa were tackled.
Several key outcomes emerged in the process. An e-forum; firstname.lastname@example.org was one of the outcomes of the process. Additionally, a resolution to form a youth led forum on science & technology (AYFST) materialized as well. AYFST arose as a platform that would advance the African youth agenda in agriculture, science and technology in Africa’s development process. Further, it had the potential of advancing its role as the key driver of economic development.
Empowered African communities that enjoy sustainable livelihoods
To build the capacity of African youth in agriculture, science, technology and innovation and empower them to participate in policy formulation processes.
- To build the capacity of African youth through training, information sharing, networking and dialogue in relevant topical and developmental issues.
- To promote youth participation in policy formulation and implementation processes at all levels concerning agriculture science, technology & innovation and development.
- To promote a culture of science technology and innovation consciousness among the African young generation.
- To promote youth-led, demand-driven research and development initiatives in agriculture.
Challenges that AYFST Set Out to Address:
- Limited and declining capacities for agricultural and scientific research
- The changing paradigm of research in agriculture, science and technology
- Lack of adequate channels for networking and information sharing
- Exclusion of the youth from the policy process