YOUSUSTAIN Sustaining Sub-Sahara Africa's Cities Through Youth Leadership Conference

Climate change is arguably the greatest environmental challenge of the 21st Century, and Sub-Saharan Africa has been recognized as the region most vulnerable to its impacts due to the region’s geographic location and the socio-economic conditions of the majority of its populations. With impacts becoming direr in the last couple of decades, it is becoming more visible that young people in the region are at the most disadvantage. Young people dominate the population of Sub-Saharan Africa, with 60% aged 25 or less1. Despite this, they have not received much spotlight regarding their role and potential in the quest to attain sustainable development in the region. These realities pose strong social justice implications.

Sub-Saharan Africa is presently the fastest urbanizing region in the world. It is asserted that 50% of people in the region, especially young people, live in urban areas . As many cities and towns become more urbanized, the speed, reach, and sophistication in such processes seem to have overwhelmed city authorities and responsible institutions who, in most instances, have been unable to keep pace with managing such growth. Urban governance in most of Sub-Saharan Africa remains ineffective and could be attributed to a lack of capacity, weak institutional regimes, and inadequate resources, which hamper the adaptation and potential role of the youth in promoting sustainability in Sub-Saharan African cities

Lately, young people are taking a proactive role in developing innovations to deal with the multiplicity of challenges that threaten sustainable development across Sub-Saharan Africa. Youth in the region today are enthusiastic about developing or harnessing the latest technologies and innovations and have the potential to mobilize their cohorts to advance social interventions and development implementation5. This makes them imperative candidates for change-making in Sub-Saharan African cities

This conference seeks to provide the platform for researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and leaders working on diverse aspects of sustainable development as it pertains to young people to discuss the adaptation and potential role of young people in Sub-Saharan Africa’s surge urbanization processes from a perspective of climate change and sustainability. Such an opportunity will help create the requisite forum to share ideas and insights on how Sub-Saharan Africa’s young people can use innovative approaches and their endless energies to shape the future of cities in the region. Ultimately, Africa’s youth must mobilize to sustain Sub-Saharan Africa’s cities, hence: YouSustain!

Conference Aims and Objectives

This conference aims to convene researchers and practitioners, especially those working on research and projects that center on young people's adaptation, potential, and role in addressing climate change and urban environmental challenges in Sub-Saharan African cities, for intellectual exchange.

Topics to be covered include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Circular economy (youth in waste management)
  • Climate adaptation
  • Climate-related hazard mitigation
  • Air pollution
  • Water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH)
  • Nature-based solutions

The specific objectives of the conference are to:

  • Share knowledge and experiences on best practices for addressing challenges that impede the sustainable development aspirations of Sub-Saharan African cities as it pertains to young people.
  • Dialogue on how young people in Sub-Saharan Africa can be better engaged as key players towards advancing adaptation and attaining sustainable development in the sub-region’s cities.

Target Participants

Researchers and practitioners whose work is focused on young people and their potential in promoting sustainable cities in Sub-Saharan Africa.




October 31st: Abstracts submissions deadline

November 9th: Decision on abstracts

November 21st: Submission of presentation slides and softcopy of posters

November 24th-25th: Conference dates

Call For Abstracts

Abstracts should be no more than 300 words and should clearly state the purpose, results, and conclusions of the work to be described in the final talk/poster.

Abstracts should be no more than 300 words and should clearly state the purpose, results, and conclusions of the work to be described in the final talk/poster.

The language of the conference will be English, and participants will be given 15 minutes to present their talks, including questions and answers.

Registration and abstract submission page:

Expected Conference Output

A publication containing:

  • An inventory of solutions in use or proposed to address the twin challenge of climate change and urban environmental problems in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • How best young people in Sub-Saharan Africa can be engaged and involved in sub-Saharan Africa’s climate change response and sustainable development aspirations.

For Enquiries

Call +233 542530695 or write to