AFRI-CONVERSE 2024 #02 Youth as a “driving force” for change: Call to Act with Africa to be held on May 27th


• Date: Monday 27th May, 2024
• Time: 19:00 – 20:30 (JST)
• Format: Hybrid
(pre-registration required for both online and in-person participation)
-In-person: Sophia University Yotsuya campus 2nd Building 17th floor
-Online: Zoom
• Participation Fee: Free
• Language: Japanese (Simultaneous interpretation in English and French is available.)
• Organizers: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Sophia University, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)


The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Sophia University, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will jointly organize AFRI CONVERSE, an interactive seminar event featuring a panel of youth representatives to discuss development issues in Africa, from perspectives of young generations.

This 18th AFRI CONVERSE will focus on the power of youth, the leaders of the next generation in both Japan and Africa, to discuss the importance of the role of youth as change maker for a sustainable future. The discussion will be developed by young leaders who have been actively involved in initiatives to tackle development issues in Africa, with introduction to each activity they have been engaging.

The opening session features video message from Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Secretary General and Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa, and congratulatory remarks from Hon. Hideki Makihara, Chair of the LDP TICAD Project Team, Member of the House of Representatives.

As part of the AFRI-CONVERSE 2024 #2, newly launched initiative by Japanese university students “Model AU in Japan” will officially be announced.

Tentative Programme(JST)

Introduction : Chika Kondoh, TICAD Partnership Specialist, Regional Bureau for Africa,
Welcoming Note (video message) : Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Secretary General and
Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa, UNDP
Launch of Model AU
A representative from Model AU organizing committee
Setting the Scene : To be moderated by Hiroshi Yokoyama
Incl. Share of “Eye-Opening” moment experienced in Africa
  1. A student from the Sophia University
  2. A student from the Sophia University
19:20-19:23 Congratulatory Remarks : Hideki Makihara, Chair of the LDP TICAD Project Team, Member
of the House of Representatives
Panel Discussion: “sharing concrete platforms” and “call for action” To be moderated by Hiroshi Yokoyama
  1. Yuki Yasumiba, A founding member of the Asia Africa Youth Nest
  2. KINYUA Laban Kithinji, Researcher, Sophia University, Japan Society for Afrasian Studies
  3. Hanajienifuaifuonaia Saito, Student at the University of Tokyo

Q&A Session with the Floor (20 mins)
Closing: Shuhei Ueno, Deputy Director General, Africa Department, JICA

Pre-Registration (Required)

Participation (at Sophia University) register

(Zoom) Participation register


The world's population of young adults aged 10-24 is estimated to be 1.9 billion, encompassing a larger population than at any time in history. Nearly 90% of this population resides in developing countries and represents the majority of population in each country. This number is expected to grow, with approximately 1.9 billion young people turning 15 between 2015 and 2030. 

In this context, young people around the world are strengthening collaboration and connectivity through variety of digital tools. For example, they contribute to each other by improving the resilience of local communities, proposing innovative solutions, driving social development, and bringing awareness to political change. Youth can play a proactive role as driving force of social change. We welcome the leadership, diversity, passion, and talent of young people around the world. In relation to this, UN defines their role in promoting the 2030 Agenda as follows: 

1. Critical thinkers: one of the roles of youth is to understand their personal experiences and ask questions about the world. Young people have the ability to uncover contradictions and prejudices by discovering and questioning existing power structures and barriers to change. 

2. Leaders of Change: Young people have the power to act on their own initiative and engage others. Youth activism is on the rise around the world, due to their extensive networks and access to social media. 

3. Innovators: Young people not only bring new perspectives, but also have first-hand knowledge and insight into issues that are often difficult for adults to understand. Young people best understand the issues they face and can offer new ideas and alternatives. 

4. Communicators: People outside the international development field may not even know that leaders around the world have agreed on the 2030 Agenda. Young people can be partners in communicating this to their peers and communities beyond their country or region. 

5. Leaders: As young people become aware of their rights and acquire leadership skills, they can take it upon themselves to inspire change in their communities and countries. 

As defined above, youth can be the key to unlock the solutions the world needs, and by engaging society, they can be a driving force for social change. Specifically, this includes promoting climate action, pursuing racial justice, promoting gender equality, and taking a proactive role in all dignity demands.

In light of the above background, the importance of the power and transformative role of youth as the next generation of leaders was reaffirmed among stakeholders on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD). It was emphasized that co-creation between African and Japanese youth is even more important for a sustainable future. It is hoped that deeper exchanges between young people will foster mutual understanding, co-creation and friendship, as well as contributing to the realization of a prosperous life for both sides. 

While negative images of Africa still exist, there are examples of Japanese youth visiting Africa to learn and co-create with Africa. Through engagement with Africa, Japanese youth have a rich opportunity to foster diversity and mutual understanding, and are exposed to innovative ideas and grassroots solutions for sustainable growth. For example, by learning about social cohesion and resilience from African communities, they can gain an international perspective by fostering empathy and solidarity.


Since 2020, JICA and UNDP have co-hosted AFRI CONVERSE, an interactive seminar on the theme of TICAD (Tokyo International Conference on African Development) and its African development issues. AFRI CONVERSE has been held 17 times to date with a total of approximately 3,800 participants from Japan and Africa, to follow up on development issues addressed at past TICAD conferences as well as to foster discussion in preparation for the future TICAD conferences. The topics in the past include; “Prospects for Innovation and Startups in Africa," "On Peace and Stability in the Sahel Region," and "Promoting Digital Africa.". The 18th AFRI CONVERSE will be held in Japanese (simultaneous interpretation in English and French available) in anticipation of the next TICAD 9 to be held in Yokohama in 2025, and in order to make many more Japanese people familiar with development issues in Africa.

Contact: Mai TOMORI, Planning and TICAD Process Division, JICA Africa Department

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