Ministers of Education and Health from the 25 countries of West and Central Africa (WCA) gathered on 6 April 2023 at the Grand Hôtel de Kintélé in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, to endorse, under the WCA Commitment, a high-level political commitment for educated, healthy and thriving adolescents and young people (the WCA Commitment).
This ceremony was co-organised by the Government of the Republic of Congo and the Technical Working Group of the WCA Commitment, bringing together the regional economic communities, several United Nations agencies, such as UNESCO, UNFPA and WHO, civil society organisations and youth networks in the region. It is placed under the patronage of Mr. Anatole Collinet MAKOSSO, Prime Minister, Head of Government of the Republic of Congo, and in the presence of Mrs. Antoinette SASSOU N'GUESSO, sponsor of the event, Wife of the Head of State, President of the Congo Assistance Foundation.
The objective of the WCA Commitment is to enable the region to capitalise on its demographic dividend by focusing on timely access to comprehensive quality education and information programmes and health services adapted to the needs of adolescents and young people in West and Central Africa. Indeed, WCA's demographic, health and social data underscore the urgency of providing adolescents and young people with the means to avoid early and unintended pregnancies, child marriages and school dropout, as well as to prevent HIV and address gender-based violence.
Countries in the region have repeatedly reiterated the need for high-level regional policy action to advocate for adolescents and young people equipped with the knowledge and skills to make responsible and informed choices for their health and well-being. Thus, since 2020, the WCA Commitment process has enabled 18 countries in the region to conduct national consultations. Through these consultations, inputs were gathered from all education and health stakeholders, as well as civil society, religious and traditional leaders and young people, to ensure that the Commitment is grounded in the realities and needs of each country.
WCA countries are committed to investing in the education and health of their youth and to working together. By addressing these priorities, the region will be able to make significant progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on health, education and gender equality. The Commitment will also provide an enabling context for the implementation of the African Union Roadmap on Harnessing the Demographic Dividend (2016), the Continental Education Strategy for Africa, and the Education Plus Initiative in WCA.
More information on the WCA Commitment Process : https://www.commit4youngpeople.org