The African Youth is unlike any other.
Whether they are between 15-35yrs (as stipulated by African Youth Charter) or 18-40yrs, the bottom line is that they will continue to impact significantly on Africa’s development.
According to the Youth Division of the AU Commission, around 65% of the total population of Africa is below the age of 35 years, with over 35% being between the age of 15 and 35 years. This makes the African continent the most youthful one. It is projected that by 2020, 3 out of 4 young people will be around 20 years old. In addition, each year, 10 million young African youth arrive each year on the labour market.
On International Youth Day, celebrated every 12 August, we are using the edition of “Africa in Focus” to interrogate different dimensions of African youth.
To say the African youth is the future of the continent is to totally understate the state of the African Youth. That there is an African Youth Charter of 2006 (which is an institutional and legal response to youth development and empowerment in Africa); an African Youth Parliament; and African Union Youth Volunteer Corps, which was established in December 2010, is the biggest indicator that there have been responses over the years to helping redress some of the challenges facing youth.
More recently, there has been the ECOWAS Volunteer Programme Scheme, which enjoins ECOWAS youth to help contribute to peace and security of the countries of Guinea; Liberia; and Sierra Leone. Both the AU and ECOWAS one was based on the UN Volunteer Scheme, which also helps promote youth volunteerism.
Closer to home, the “Africa in Focus” Research & Communications Unit will be launching the first-ever Youth Volunteer Scheme at our first-everHigh-Level Public Forum on 4-5 September on Regional Development in West Africa at Eastgate Hotel. It enjoins the African youth to actively contribute to the development of Africa and West Africa’s integration efforts through innovative strategies.
In this 13th edition of AIF, we talk to members of the African youth leaders on how and why agriculture is still a great sector to be in for the youth. What about the youth who are doing great stuff in their communities? What do they have to say about their work? In this respect, we will be speaking to Rauf Kadri, a youth activist and anti-corruption campaigner. If volunteering by the youth is still a great idea, what are organizations like the West Africa Civil Society Institute(WACSI) doing to help encourage and stimulate youth to be proactive in their careers?
We shall also be speaking to health practitioner Kobby Blay to give us the latest on Ebola. In the light of the theme of UN International Youth Day being “Mental Health Matters”, and reminding people to help reduce stigma surrounding youth with mental health conditions, we shall be speaking to Kobby to help shed light on his experience of the impact of mental health and youth. Finally, we shall be speaking to the Executive Director of the Young Zimbabwe Business Platform to give his insights into the way forward for Africa’s youth.
Questions to be answered:
· What constitutes the African Youth?
· What is the biggest stumbling block for African youth?
· Has the African Youth lost its way? (Rauf)
· How can agriculture help the youth make an impact in their country’s development?(Edison)
· How and Why are initiatives like Model Ecowas Summit an answer to responding to challenges of youth?( David Osabutey)
· Is volunteering by the Youth still a good idea? (As not everyone can be an entrepreneur!)
· Does the future look bright for Africa’s youth? (Edison/Charles/Rauf)
Guests in the studio:
Ø Edison Gbenga, AgriPro Consulting
Ø David Osabutey, Model Ecowas Summit
Ø Kobby Blay, Ghana Health Nest/#EbolaWatch
On the line:
Ø Rauf Kadri, anti-corruption campaigner @ 13h55
Ø Charles VanDyck, WACSI, @14h10
Ø Mkhu Ncube, Young Zimbabwe Business Platform/ex-UNECA @ 14h25