(For video of the Congress and panel sessions, visit www.youtube.com/equatorialguineanews)
"We want our young people to distinguish themselves by focusing on the values of honor, dignity and defending the interests of the people of Equatorial Guinea," said President of Equatorial Guinea Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who presided over the Congress. He also advocated for the preservation of peace, political stability, training and compliance with the ideology to "do good and avoid evil."
Hundreds of youth and PDGE district councils were in attendance. Guinean government officials, diplomatic corps, various representatives of neighboring African governments -- including Gabon, Ghana, Morocco, Angola and Cameroon -- the United Nations and representatives of opposition parties were also present during the three days.
The Minister of Agriculture said that the main purpose of the youth associations in the country is to promote leadership, and to serve and defend the interests of the people of Equatorial Guinea. The first Youth Congress was themed, "Together building the future in confidence."
The four main objectives of the Youth Congress were to:
- Create an environment that gives an opportunity for the voices of the country's youth to be heard.
- Renew the structure and the functions of the party to accommodate and reflect the present times.
- Attract young people to actively participate in the political process.
- Wisely and gradually prepare for a generational change in an orderly and harmonious manner, with a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect between young and old.
In his line of objectives, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue said: "We should give ourselves in our entirety to activities in productive sectors such as agriculture, sea and river fishing, crafts, trade, small, medium and industrial enterprises that allow youth a level of responsible living, and to move away from political and economic corruption."
He suggested that a "pact of trust between generations" should exist, because to "ignore the essential nature of the link between the elderly and young people is to ignore the realities of the history of our peoples and of humanity... The PDGE youth must leave this Congress with a fresh mind and be certain that our ancestors have brought us national freedom and independence. A change of mentality is needed."
The Congress kicked off with remarks by President Obiang and the Minister of Agriculture and welcome words from the delegations of the Democratic Party of Gabon and Gabon's Youth Association, Democratic Congress of Ghana, Democratic Reunification of Cameroonian People, Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, and Governmental Independence Party of the Kingdom of Morocco. Delegates also heard from the National University of Equatorial Guinea (UNGE) and the Scientific and Technological Research Council (CICTE).
On the second day of the Congress, national experts, party leaders and top government officials, addressed various topics of interest during panel discussions and took questions from the audience. Panel sessions on Youth and National Identity, Youth and Education, Youth and Access to Jobs, Youth and Access to Housing, Youth and Agriculture Sector and Business Culture, and Youth and Professional Development addressed current challenges and provided recommendations. On the final day, closing remarks were delivered by President Obiang and the Minister of Agriculture was sworn in as president of the Youth Federation of the PDGE.