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Malawian First Lady Calls for Youth Development

First Lady of Malawi Gertrude Mutharika (second left) attends the launch ceremony of China-Africa Hand in Hand: Chinese Youth’s Campaign for Social Benefit of Africa held on October 31, 2016 in Beijing.

Educated and empowered youth can contribute to the improved health status and development of Africa. That's according to Gertrude Mutharika, First Lady of Malawi and Vice President of the Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA), who spoke at the launch ceremony of "China-Africa Hand in Hand: Chinese Youth's Campaign for Social Benefit of Africa" held on October 31, 2016 in Beijing.

"The youth are the future of the China-Africa relations and we look forward to more engagement with the Chinese youth to the development of Africa," she said.

The event was organized by the China-Africa Business Council (CABC) and Increasing Love for Decreasing AIDS (ILDA) Fund under the China Social Assistance Foundation.

"The campaign aims to encourage and engage more Chinese youth to contribute to the improved health status and development of Africa," said Feng Qiang, Director of Events & Social Benefit Department at CABC.

Gertrude Mutharika and students from Affiliated School of Peking University.

The organizer said the ILDA Fund was jointly established in Beijing in 2015 by nine people dedicated to China-Africa friendship and the control and prevention of AIDS. The fund aims to contribute toward combating HIV/AIDS and promoting public benefits through non-governmental efforts, such as mobilizing the youth and engaging Chinese investors in Africa.

CABC and the ILDA Fund have actively responded to the UN's Every Woman Every Child Initiative, which addresses the major health challenges facing women, children and adolescents. One of the major areas of ILDA Fund's focus is promoting the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV so as to improve the health conditions and well-being of African women and children.

Mutharika expressed her gratitude to the ILDA Fund for donating $200,000 to OAFLA to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa in 2015 and 2016.

She also pointed out that Malawi still have some challenges that need urgent attention. "We continue to lose mothers and children due to preventable illnesses including HIV/AIDS, malaria, and cancer," she said.

Gertrude Mutharika speaks at the launch ceremony.

"We look forward to more attention and support from China, especially the youth to join the fight against HIV and AIDS, malaria and other malignant diseases."

The large youthful population of Africa presents both opportunities and challenges, said Mutharika. She told the audience that without jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities, the youth would be a source of self-destruction that could lead to retarded development of Africa.

"This is where Africa needs China to help our youths with various skills. I would like to urge China to continue and scale up the people-to-people exchanges and capacity building programs which so far have seen thousands of youths from various African countries visiting China and also Chinese youths visiting Africa" she said.

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