African Youth Forum 2014: African Solutions to African Problems

With 60% of Africa’s population between 16 and 25, the youth community remains the most influential factor to shape the future of the continent.
With 60% of Africa’s population between 16 and 25, the youth community remains the most influential factor to shape the future of the continent.

Sounds like a cliché, but so true. How can the strength of Africa’s youth be harnessed apart from conscription into the armed forces? Youth unemployment is everywhere, but why the worst in Africa?

Youth are a critical component of the Dark continent’s progress plan at the African Youth Forum 2014, a venture of the World Bank Group – International Monetary Fund and the Young African Society. AYF 2014 has been put forward with the intent to engage and empower Africa’s youth where they can strongly partake in the discussion, evaluation and implementation of Africa’s development agenda. Among several topics discussed, the main focuses have been on education and youth employment.

Education for living

With 60% of Africa’s population between 16 and 25, the youth community remains the most influential factor to shape the future of the continent. Young people are the emerging leadership of Africa. They are committed to a much better future for Africa.

Somehow the Black continent has accepted that education is key to eradicate poverty. Africa has made a step forward in getting children, specially girls, in schools though the learning outcomes remain low. They are more educated than the generation before but face difficulties in transitioning from school to work.

According to Claudia Maria Costin, Sr. Director for Education at World Bank Group, Africa has encountered a radical increase in demand for higher education and skills development. Many of them travel to Europe and US through scholarship programmes, but again, back to their country they face great challenge to translate their knowhow into viable employment opportunities.

The question that arises here is whether should it just be formal education and academic, or should it be about fundamental education for living? I believe traditional education has failed in Africa. What we really need is an action-skilled-based education, since schooling doesn’t give employment (no less than for the time being).

A peaceful revolution

Like many around the world, African youth are hungry to solve their own problems. However, they need to be empowered. Empowering youth is all about revolutionizing the rapidity of growth in Africa so that Africa has its say at the table.

11 million youth enter the African labour market every year. In point of fact, there is a need to develop more best practice networks for young African entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is fundamental for youth empowerment. The revolution should be a peaceful one – of entrepreneurship, innovation and autonomy.

African youth ought think strategically, else the world will conquer and invade the continent while they keep watching. Africa is doing quite a lot, but the world calls for urgency and that should be forged ahead by the young people. Huge responsibility. Best of luck, Champs!

– KRISHNA ATHAL

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