Somalia has challenged the youth to play a role in the country’s decision-making process by participating in preparations for the upcoming elections.

Khadija Mohamed Diriye, minister of youth and sports said her ministry was engaged in the ongoing pre-election process to review the constitution and electoral law ahead of the 2020/2021 elections, and asked youth to contribute to the process.

“We have put efforts in reviewing our country’s constitution and the electoral law. There is a committee to ensure youth participation in the ongoing consultative process,” Diriye said in a statement issued on Friday after an event organized by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

“We want the voice of the youth to be louder than ever. There is a chance to add your voice where you are not satisfied,” Diriye said.

The Horn of Africa’s electoral body launched a five-year roadmap in 2018 to help guide the management and administration of the country’s “one-person, one-vote” elections in 2020-2021.

The National Independent Electoral Commission says the roadmap will provide guidelines for all the activities to be undertaken by the Commission and will be subject to periodic review.

Muna Hassan Mohamed, AMISOM political officer, said the youth should not be left behind because they are a key constituency, making up the largest proportion of Somalia’s population.

However, Muna said, the lack of awareness of existing opportunities impedes youth’s political participation especially for young females.

A key challenge affecting youth in Somalia is the high unemployment rate, standing at about 67 percent for youth between 14 and 29 years.

This makes it one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, according to the United Nations.

“This day is important for Somalia as it is an opportunity to raise awareness on the role of youth in development, economic and political participation,” said Muna.

Aweys Hassan Mohamed, a youth participant at the meeting rallied his fellow youth to take up the responsibility to rebuild the country.

“Every country develops and grows because of the input and participation of its youth. We need to be ready to take part in national development,” he said.