The United Nations wants stronger ties with the African Union (AU) to ensure that promised development for Africa’s youth is achieved.

UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, believes that such strengthened collaboration would ensure that Africa benefited from the full potential of all its people, including young women and men.

Mrs Mohammed was addressing leaders from across the continent who had gathered at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It is her first AU Summit since taking office.

She pointed out that the AU’s thematic focus for 2017 on youth was a “powerful reminder” of the core principle at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the AU’s strategic framework known as Agenda 2063 and other global agreements, namely, creating a better world for the next generation.

“For the 226 million young people aged 15 to 24 living in Africa today, these agenda address challenges and opportunities that are integral to their futures.

“Today you are here taking decisions that will ensure that Africa benefits from the full potential of all its people, including young women and men,” she said, in a nod to this year’s theme of Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through investments in Youth.

According to her, investing in Africa’s youth today reaps the dividend of a peaceful and prosperous Africa tomorrow.

Mohammed called for “building new bridges between us, and fortifying the ones that already exist” to deliver on the promises of the development agenda for Africa and its people.

In April, the UN-AU annual conference in New York resulted in a joint framework for enhanced partnership on peace and security.

The two organisations are now preparing a joint framework on sustainable development, focusing on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and of Agenda 2063, according to Mohammed.

She also noted that the UN would be collaborating with the AU on a new UN-European Union initiative to be launched at the UN General Assembly this September to end gender-based violence around the world.

The deputy UN chief also highlighted some of the other areas where the UN and the AU were working more closely, including on efforts to enhance the UN’s partnership with Africa’s regional economic communities in areas of peacekeeping, elections and democratic transitions.