2017 - Year for Africa’s youth Time to start prioritising Africa’s assets – future leaders
Africa’s youth population is rapidly growing and expected to double to over 830 million by 2050. This youth bulge can lead to significant economic opportunities, yet persistent unemployment and underemployment constitute central challenges to development.
Youth are Africa’s greatest asset. There is an urgent need to promote inclusive economic transformation and jobs-induced growth to improve the quality of life for all Africans. If properly harnessed, this increase in the working age population could support increased productivity and stronger, more inclusive economic growth across the continent.
Africa’s asset remains untapped due to unemployment and underemployment. The potential benefits of Africa’s youth population are unrealised as two-thirds of non-student youth are unemployed, discouraged, or only vulnerably employed.
Only three million formal jobs are created annually despite the ten to twelve million youth that enter the workforce each year. Even when jobs are available, youth often do not have the skills required by employers. Women are particularly impacted, often facing even greater barriers to accessing opportunities and earning equal pay.
There are individual, national and global benefits to improving youth employment. Employment leads to increased incomes, higher standards of living, and better health and education access. It also fuels inclusive growth for countries; lowering the youth unemployment rate to that of adults would translate to a 10 to 20% increase in Africa’s GDP. Forty percent of people who join rebel movements are motivated by lack of economic opportunity. Unemployment also fuels outward migration both within and from Africa. This leads to unspeakable tragedy, reflected by thousands of deaths among migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea in search for “greener pastures”.
Today, Africa’s population is 1.2 billion and is projected to more than double by 2050, when it will comprise one-fourth of the world’s population. Already the world’s youngest region, Africa will be home to 38 to the 40 youngest countries by 2050, and its median population will be under 25 years old.
(Extracted Source: African Development Bank Group – OSHD, 2016)
The time is NOW for us to put our heads, hands and minds together to cultivate and nurture our future. Investing and nurturing our future Leaders to enhance critical knowledge and skills is paramount for accelerated development in Africa. We are our brothers and sisters keepers. We must ensure “brain gain” and cannot and must not allow “brain drain”. The urgency of investing in our brothers, sisters and children is NOW. Let’s do this!!!!!