14 November 2012

Africa: 'Future of Youths in Africa Grim Unless...'

Photo: Vanguard
Unemployed youths at Alausa, Ikeja (File Photo)

The future of youth in many African countries, including Nigeria may be grim unless governments and policy makers take urgent steps to improve good governance, provide quality education, health and create employment for youths. This will enable them to compete with their counterparts in other regions of the world.

A report by Mo Ibrahim Foundation, revealed that youths in the African continent are endangered by realities not unconnected to governance as listed: The median age of African leaders is 3 times the median age of the African population; African current educational levels are lower than China's and India's; secondary school achievement has regressed, as nearly nine million primary school-age children are out of school in Nigeria, with only 2/3 of students progressing from primary to secondary education in Africa.

The report also stated that in about half of African countries, there are almost 40 pupils per teacher; youth unemployment increases with education level in Africa; the continent has the lowest share of engineering graduates in the world; West and Central Africa's literacy lags behind East, Southern and North Africa; job readiness is lacking in Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt, while sectors that drive GDP growth do not create the most jobs; just as almost half of the world's out-of-school children live in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the report, the informal sector represents more than 80% of total employment in sub-Saharan Africa, adding that renting an office in Lagos is more expensive than in Manhattan or Dubai.

The forecast by the group of experts on future of youths in the continent a few decades from now is not any better. The report projected that, in less than three generations, 41% of the world's youth will be African; by 2035, Africa's labour force will be larger than China's, by 2050, over 1/4 of the world's labour force will be African.

The Mo Ibrahim 2012 forum with theme- African Youth: fulfilling the Potential, was held in Dakar, Senegal seeking solutions to the African youth dilemma. Panelists discussed themes such as- Employment outlook: Setting the global and regional context of the potential demand; Ensuring African youth competitiveness: Developing the right skills and providing adequate tools and acquiring social and political responsibility.

Are you a youth in Nigeria and Africa? Have you wondered the state of the youth in 10, 20 or 30 years? Are African youth endangered? Would African leaders yield grounds for leadership positions to a younger generation?

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