Good afternoon ladies and Gentlemen, Ambassadors, Mr. Chairman,

My name is Camila Alves, and in the name of the Young Americas Business Trust, I'd like to thank you for the opportunity of coming here today to present our comments and suggestions before this committee.

As you may know, the Young Americas Business Trust is a non-profit corporation, affiliated to the OAS General Secretariat, which was established in order to follow up some of the commitments made by the heads of States during both previous Summits of the Americas. It was incorporated in June 1999, and has a new approach to development, working with the private and public sectors and the OAS altogether, towards entrepreneurial development, youth enterprises, skills training and regional networks for training and sharing expertise among countries.

In the past year, we focused on designing a range of programs in the Americas on education, internships, networking and technology.

On the paper presented by the Chairman, it was stated: "Connectivity is not an end, a tool for human development, but not the solution to all human problems". We, at the Young Americas Business Trust, not only understand the importance of Connectivity as a means not an end, but also, we fell it and rely on its potential everyday.

Our projects and programs, Mr. Chairman, focus on the incentive and development of entrepreneurial skills of the youth of the region. In fact, they're deeply related to new technologies and some of them were only made possible because of the new technologies.

Our project YBIZ.NET, for instance, aims to create an "Internetwork" among young entrepreneurs and youth business development organisations in the Americas and internationally, through our prototype website; YBIZ.NET. It has a tremendous potential for providing training and information resources and for networking, that will enable these young entrepreneurs and organisations to learn from eachother, eventually creating trade nets, helping young people to learn about e-commerce, and for using technology to engage their interest and accelerate entrepreneur development.

Another example is the "Youth and Energy in the Americas" that develops internships and training for young people in renewable energy. Young people gain practical experience in technology, working with US companies, and the companies benefit from their in-country expertise and possibly new employees and franchisees.

Those are only two examples among other several projects, such as the Young Entrepreneur Leadership Network, Entrepreneur leadership Course for Young Women, Business summits and Strategic Partnerships, and Business Labs.

As you could notice, Mr. Chairman, the YABT is a concrete answer to those words agreed by the heads of state on previous summits and their respective Plans of Action. The YABT is a concrete example that all the hard work and energy spent on discussions and decision making can actually come into reality and somehow make a difference on the life of the peoples of Hemisphere. And are, initiatives like this one, of listening to different points of view and suggestions, bring new approaches and new solutions to some of the old problems of the continent.

However, Mr. Chairman, there's still a long way to go and several barriers to be surpassed. As a volunteer to these projects, actually taking part of one of their internship programs and most importantly as a citizen of the Hemisphere, I happen to notice that good ideas and good projects in spirit, sometimes don't achieve their goals. Not only for lack of financial support, but also, for lack of political will.

So by facing youth as a public policy priority and by giving young people tools for them to build their own future we might be able to give a step forward on the region's development. Personally, I believe that and effort well done today can make a great difference on the continents future.

I'd like to end not by presenting answers but by asking how the governments of the Americas are willing to continue helping the youth and the young entrepreneurs of the Hemisphere. As the Third Summit of the Americas comes closer, would be essential for the leaders to bear in mind the importance of youth, while working for realising the Human Potential of the region.

I once more would like to thank you Mr. Chairman, for this opportunity and I hope my comments were somehow helpful.

Have a good afternoon you all, thank you very much.

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