The government and its development partners launched a Youth Innovation challenge in Juba this morning.
The three-day Youth Innovation challenge 2019 is where UNDP will unveiling a new partnership with Equity Bank to encourage youth engagement on the sustainable development goals in the country.
This is part of UNDP’s youth empowerment and employment project supported by the Kingdom of Netherlands which targets nearly 1,000 South Sudanese youth.
It aims to scale up youth involvement in achieving sustainable development goals and support productive youth-led activities to achieve sustainable development in South Sudan.
So far, there are about 160 innovative ideas of which 16 support the transformation of the Agricultural sector.
Onyoti Adigo, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security said the program will help the youth to be creative in the agricultural sector and enhance employment opportunities for young people.
“It will make our youth to think about Agriculture and food security because we think Agriculture is the sector which can move the country forward economically and without the involvement of the youth, I think nothing can happen.”
For his part, Marc Leon Mazairac, the first Secretary of Developmental Affairs at the Embassy of Netherlands said the sector has a huge potential and the better way to exploit that potential is by asking the youth to help bring new innovations.
“There is a lot of young people in this country but there is also a lot of fertile lands, so I am looking forward to seeing the result of this innovation challenge in which 60 youth are taking part, I am sure there is going to be a lot of good ideas that we can tap on.”
Meanwhile, the UNDP Resident Representative, Dr. Kamil Kamaluddeen said development cannot work without youth involvement.
“We cannot advance development without getting them (youth) involved. Today is about 1,000 youth, men and women, boys and girls that are advancing the sustainable development goals,” he said.
The successful innovators will receive grants to pilot the concepts.