Students across Africa converged at the 10th Africa Students and Youth Summit to discuss issues of child labour and the need for the world to act firmly and commit more resources towards fighting the problem on Thursday, July 22.

Also in attendance were global anti-child labour activist and Nobel Laureate Dr Kaylash Satyarthi, Counter Director for Plan International Ghana Solomon Tesfamariam as well as several policy actors.

The Summit is organized annually by the All-Africa Students Union to provide a voice to student and youth leaders, education policy actors, and other development partners on critical issues that affect the youth.

Opening the event on behalf of the Secretary-General of the All-Africa Students Union, Angel Mbuthia, Secretary of Gender and International Relations, charged world leaders to sit up and act more strongly against child labour.

Speaking about the pervasiveness of the problem, the Kenyan Gender Activist revealed that child labour has been further compounded by the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She noted that: “children have become the most vulnerable to the shocks of the pandemic”, and that as s a result: “a lot of them are being pushed into exploitative labour to fend for themselves or support their guardians”.

On his part, Country Director for Plan International Ghana, Solomon Tesfamariam urged for collective effort from multinational companies and industries towards the dealing with child labour.

According to Mr Tesfamariam, many times, children are engaged in the value chain of companies as cheap labour. Therefore, efforts at addressing the problem would not be successful without their collaboration and commitment.

Also speaking at the event, Nicholas De-Heer, Head of Partnerships and Programmes at the Youthbridge Foundation expressed delight at the partnership with the All-Africa Students Union.

He added his voice to the need for the world to do better to fight child labour, noting that education remains a necessary bridge to achieving this goal.

To that, he stressed the need to provide education for all children as it was the surest way to ending the cycle of poverty that plagues many children in the world.

Organizers expressed satisfaction at the event and reaffirmed their commitment to giving their fair share to ending child labour.