Public debate is too often confiscated by older generations. How to give young Africans back the place they deserve?
Africa is the youngest continent in the world. In 2050, almost half of its population will be under 25 years old. But this youth, which could represent real wealth, is today threatened: young people represent 60% of the total unemployed on the continent. In some countries, particularly in North Africa, the youth unemployment rate is close to 30%. In Botswana, the Republic of Congo, Senegal, South Africa and other countries, the situation is even more worrying. Far from being defeatist, we believe today that these statistics are due to the fact that the potential of African youth today remains “untapped”.
In 2018, Akinwunmi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) was moved by the situation of despair in which the youth of our continent were plunged. “Africa must stop being a museum of poverty. Its people are determined to reverse this trend, he said. The future of young Africans is not in Europe, their destiny is not to perish in the Mediterranean”.
If some young Africans believe that survival depends on crossing the Mediterranean, we firmly believe that young populations must take their destiny into their own hands. Since the creation of our movement called the African Youth in Power (JAP) in June 2021, we have been able to meet and exchange with several young leaders from their respective communities, most of them motivated to participate in the emancipation of youth.
"Remember that African youth is the continent's engine of development"
But if these young Africans nourish the ambition to transform their lives, their national economies and their societies, nothing can be done without appropriate public policies, without an educated, but above all well-trained youth. And even less without giving these young women and men a chance to transform the world.
Africa has incredible human capital. But infrastructure, training or education are often insufficient to bring out a sufficiently empowered African youth, who can contribute effectively and efficiently to the renewal of Africa. A youth capable of creating wealth and fully living the dream of prosperity, peace, stability and sustainable development in Africa.
Before we can get there, it is necessary to put young people back at the heart of the public debate. A debate often confiscated by older generations. Leaders, business leaders, members of civil society, remember that African youth is the continent's engine of development. This same youth must be placed at the heart of your concerns. Because we believe that all young people deserve to succeed. They are the future of the continent which, without them, will not be able to make its revolution.
N'Guessan M'Bahia is the founder and president of the African Youth in Power (JAP), an apolitical organization established in 14 countries, which has more than 2 members.