Are African Youths Africa’s Challenge?

It is needless to recount the 200 million people across the continent that constitute the youth population, are African youths Africa’s challenge? Although, it is true that a growing youth population is a challenge for Africa today, it cannot be the reason behind the unemployment figures in Africa. These figures are largely the results of socio-economic and political behaviors and the socioeconomic conditions in Africa block the progress of the African youth.

Several issues inhibit the fulfilment of the potential of the African youth, majority of these problems are attributed to the government.  The reality is: every government is a reflection of its people. The prevailing school of thought is that the government is responsible for employing its people, ironically, history teaches that every country rises on the contribution of its young population. In fact, this young population form the prevailing public interests. During the Arab Spring in 2011, the world witnessed the power of young people to drive change and spur development. Through social media, millions of people organized protests. This article does not intend to spark protests against governments, rather, it is to stir minds and souls into the action of rebuilding a continent that has played second-fiddle for centuries while contributing a majority of factors in the production process.

The successes of youths uniting for a common cause proves that a unity of purpose guarantees undeniable results. BudgIT Nigeria is a civic organization that applies technology to intersect civic engagement with institutional improvement to facilitate societal change. BudgIT uses an array of tech tools to simplify budget and matters of public spending for citizens with the primary aim of raising the standard of transparency and accountability in democracy. Due to the contributions of major players like BudgIT the budget was published for the first time in the history of the Nigerian National Assembly.

Across Africa, the deciding factors for winning elections are religion and ethnicity. Therefore, individuals who can barely resolve family issues are thrust into power because of their religion and ethnic orientation. What then is the prospect for development? As a matter of urgency, we must look beyond our stomach infrastructure. We must desist from voting along lines of ethnicity and religion. The deciding factor for our votes must be premised on the candidates’ ability to solve our nation’s challenge.

Every generation has been handed an imperfect world. The generation preceding ours was tasked with liberating the continent for independence. Perhaps, our own duty is to pull Africa from the dungeons of poverty into the glory of wealth. There are no quick-fixes, the solution unlike the problem is less complex. Africa needs an assertive, ground breaking and adaptable young generation to create their future. Young people are not to be helped or solved, they are conduits of creativity and catalysts for change. Young people are ambitious, creative and capable of rethinking the world and solving tomorrow’s problems today. In the words of Socrates, ‘The secret to change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new.’

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