The African continent is home to a significant youth population. Unlike other continents that grapple with a graying population, Africa has an increasingly youthful population, of which 60 percent falls under the age of 25. Similarly, according to various sources, the youth accounts for 60 percent of the unemployed population in the continent. The number is even poised to increase when Africa’s population doubles by 2050.
Arguably, the youth population is both a blessing and a curse for the continent. If policymakers come up with the right investment and opportunities, Africa’s growing youthful population could be transformed into an economic boom. The opposite would lead to a horrible failure though.
One thing is for sure though, the growing continent that is also caught up on myriads of socio-economic and political predicaments needs the innovation, talent, and services of its young population more than any time before. The continent needs young entrepreneurs and leaders to overcome its pressing challenges.
Beset by daunting hurdles, the continent faces uncertainty over its preparedness to tap the growing youthful population.
With proper policies, empowerment, the young population has the potential to place countries and the whole continent into better socio-economic and political positions. On the contrary, with joblessness remaining high, Africa may find it hard to manage the demands of its youth which would risk instability and insecurity.
To tap the potential of this segment of society, African countries need to come up with collective and individual initiates. The countries should enhance continental networks where the youth could actively engage in the socio-economic and political endeavors of the continent. In this regard, the African Youth SDG Summit is an impetus and a promising start.
The Summit, which serves as a pan-African forum connecting the youth in Africa proves an important stage to empowering the current generation thereby, contributing their share in the implementation, monitoring, and accountability of the SDGs. The 4th SDG Summit is being held in Addis Ababa. The Summit provides the youth to exchange views and lessons regarding the tall order. As Ethiopia successfully hosts this event, the youth drawn from different parts of the continent have been discussing the A-Z elements of the goals. This would help to improve the implementation of SDG and other Agendas of the continent.
Without a shred of doubt, no international and continental development initiatives could come into effect unless the youth actively takes part. The youth should be involved in policy formulation. So should be in the implementation process. After all, the major driving force behind any development agenda is the youth. Most importantly, the cooperation of the continent’s youth is essential imperative to effectuate international development goals like SDGs.
African youth should seek opportunities and make the best of the continent and African governments should devise proper policies to tap the productive population. Political oppression, limited economic opportunities, growing corruption, rising unemployment may create a rebellious youth consequently tearing countries apart.
A number of African countries have undergone break-or-make moments as governments failed to heed to the call of their youths. Past experiences have shown us that the youth bringing dictators into submission, replacing poverty with economic booms as well as paving the way for democracies. The youth in fact is a change maker.
Equally true, nations have been able to meet economic prosperities utilizing the great potential of their younger population. In this regard, it would be up to African governments and policymakers to create conducive environment where the youth would unleash its capacity to the fullest extent. Africa should make sure it creates enough jobs, equal opportunities for its growing youth.
The March 11/2022