Eswatini has recently joined the African continent in addressing various issues that ranges from social entrepreneurship, educational, trading barriers and governance among others in the annual Breaking down Borders Summit which was held in the Republic of South Africa. Eswatini was represented by five young people from different sectors and these were Bertha Sithole who is Start-Up Grind Mbabane Director, Sanelsiwe Mndlovu who is a mental health activist, Thabiso Mnisi who is Programs Manager at the Knowledge Institute, Sanelsiwe Mkhwanazi, Business Advisory Officer at STP and Noxolo Nkabinde, a Marketing Coordinator at Happy Valley Hotel. The three -day summit
took place in Johannesburg, South Africa where the recently launched strategic roadmap was unpacked by the Eswatini delegation in the Breaking down Boarders Africa Summit which saw delegates from countries like Mozambique, Lesotho,
Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania to mention but only a few. Most of the issues that were of concern in the summit were those of ease of doing business in the African countries, and other trade barriers that seem to be a great hindrance to doing business across borders. It was in this summit that the Eswatini delegation highlighted the strides that the government has taken to ensure a healthy business environment for locals and international investors. The Breaking down Borders Africa Youth Summit, a Pan-African annual conference for youth leaders from
across the continent, was hosted under the theme ‘Reclaim Africa’ – which organisers described as a call to action for young people to work towards an Africa they desire to be a part of. The three day gathering encouraged youth participation in governance, social change and the economy through topics that impart knowledge, engage thought and
inspire action. Some of the topics that were discussed included women empowerment, promoting social entrepreneurship, Africa good governance report, refugee discussion and youth being Africa’s custodians of development. The Breaking down Borders Africa Initiative is a multi-platform initiative that includes education,
empowerment drives as well as the conference. Founded by The Leaders Who Dare to Dream Foundation and led by a collective of youth social entrepreneurs, the initiative undertakes efforts to connect African youth through dialogue and conferencing, workshops and arts programmes. Through various partnerships with global NGO’s,
government and the private sector, the Conference has driven robust conversation, given a platform for youth thought leadership and the building of networks among African youth in social and commercial entrepreneurship. Delegates of the Summit range from young leaders from diverse backgrounds such as media, politics, academia
and business – with the aim of driving inter-country relations and collaborations. Forming part of the panellist was media personality Odile Gertze (Namibia), Migrants advocate Sophie Kanza (DRC), Broadcaster William Lahong (SA), Entrepreneur Cornet Mamabolo (SA), Bertha Sithole (Eswatini), Bulelani Bala (SA), Fasiha Hassan (SA) Matthew Mensah (Ghana) among others in different sessions.

What some of the members of the Eswatini delegation had to say…
Thabiso Mnisi: “I think what was actually critical at this event was the engagement with other entrepreneurs and thought leaders of the communications industry. I learnt that collaboration and skills sharing among Africans is important. We have to continually communicate, engage on issues that affect young people, in those engagements for us to have sustainable solutions to our domestic challenges. What I learnt also was the work
of social entrepreneurs. They’re critical to improving the economy, and they’re more interested in growing others and creating sustainable businesses for other people. Social entrepreneurs need support from the private and the public sector to thrive. On another note; what I also learnt is that digital marketing for entrepreneurs and social
causes is critical. Learnt how to create content and use Facebook Ads effectively to boost reach and Returns on Investments (RoI) of those Advertisements.”
Senelisiwe Mndlovu: Breaking down Borders Africa Youth Summit (BDBAYS)
was a great platform for young people to talk about the issues they face and find solutions together. From my field of work there is more that needs to be done. In most African communities, mental health is still a topic they don’t talk about and the stigma attached to Mental Health doesn’t only affect those living with mental health illnesses but their communities as well. We need to stand up as young people and reclaim our mental strength

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