About 65% of the total population of Africa are below age 35 and over 35% are between ages 15 and 35 – making Africa the most youth full continent. By 2020, it is projected that for every 4 people, 3 will be aged 20 on average.
November 1st has been designated by the African Union to celebrate people who constitute the majority as far as the population of our great continent is concerned. This year’s celebration has been tagged “African Year of Human Rights towards Agenda 2063 – The Africa we want ”
The African continent is one with a very young and vibrant population, with these category of people making waves as regards their passionate participation in grassroots politics and the making of their respective country leaders.
As we celebrate the the Africa Youth Day, it has become pertinent to remind us that expectations are high for a population that has the figures, agility and ability, but is chiefly governed by a generation that is not in touch and tandem with the present realities pillaging the African youth as unemployment keeps taking higher tolls amongst these category of people while about 10 million young Africans arrive each year to the labor market with no sustainable source of income nor suffient motivation from their government to tow the path of enterpreneurship. Their inability to secure a sustainable means of income, while putting their time to good use has been a major cause of social unrest.
According to the World Bank, youths account for 60% of all African unemployed individuals, In North Africa, the youth unemployment rate is an eyebrow-raising 30%. It gets worse in Botswana, The Congo Republic, Senegal, South Africa and several related countries.
Zimbabwe, Equitorial Guinea, Nigeria, Cameroon, Tunisia, Ghana, and a host of these countries have leaders that are well over age 70 and this is a major reason why Africans are not known for any innovative actions or policies but are rather known for stern dependence on western aids since time immemorial.
We cannot continue like this.
It is therefore imperative that as we celebrate the Africa Youth Day for 2015, youths across the continent must reflect on the words of Kurt Vonnegut:
“What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured”.
The deep and insightful words of Alvin Toffler also ring a bell:
“The secret message communicated to most young people today by the society around them is that they are not needed, that the society will run itself quite nicely until they – at some distant point
in the future – take over the reigns”.
The hard fact remains. Society is not running itself nicely. We need all the energy, brains, imaginations and talent that young people can bring to the table so we can bear down on our difficulties. For society to attempt to solve its desperate problems without the full participation of even very young people is imbecile.
African youths must arise. African youths must step up, they must step up to take their place in the African polity, and indeed other spheres inorder to create a developed continent in years to come, one that we and the future generation can be truly proud to call our own. It begins with you!