The current population of Africa is 1,343,458,951 as of Thursday, August 6, 2020, based on the latest United Nations estimates. The African population is equivalent to 16.72% of the total world population. Africa ranks number 2 among regions of the world (roughly equivalent to “continents”), ordered by population. The continent is only second to Asia in the World Population Index as according the United Nations Data. Furthermore, the report says that of the total population in Africa, 43.8 % of the population is living in urban areas (587,737,793 people in 2019) while they remain 56.2 % (752,860,354 people in 2019) is still hold in the rural set up of the continent. The population of Africa is relatively young and that makes the median age in Africa is 19.7 years. That statement is enough to qualify the assertion that much of the population in Africa is youthful.
The plight of the African youth has been subject of much debate in many states on the continent. The famous statement that “the Youth are the future leaders” resonates so vividly in the minds of many youths across the continent. Many times that statement is echoed, it usually paints the gloomy picture that the youth have faced in accessing opportunities that will position them to take over from the current crop of African leaders. Opportunities have been hard to come by for many African youths such that they have constantly entertained they thought that their better future lies in the diaspora more especially the much more developed countries in the West and part of the fast developing Far East.
In many African Nations, the Youths that have excelled in their youth age is usually as a result of shrewd entrepreneurial training from their parents or guardians, or they are politically connected. It is suffice to say that not every youth would be politically connected and not every youth would travesty the route of political connections. Political players should implement a system which will allow the entrepreneurial ideas and innovations from the Youth are put to test regardless of their political affiliations. The ideas and innovations by the African youth, are the sure way to develop the African continent beyond the current developmental standards.
The African Youth has long cried to given an opportunity to set up businesses in various industries of the economy. The African Youths have long cried to be given first priority in business operations over established business owned by multi-national conglomerates operating in different countries across the continent. The cry of many Africans is that supporting African own business will help the continent to development further because the earnings of the businesses will still circulate among Countries on the continent. Reducing border restrictions on business people on the continent is another policy that the African youth are cry for to be implemented faster. This policy should be followed by the implementation of banning Visas among African Union member states and where possible, implement the single passport for the whole of the African continent. When movement of people is made easy and faster, so are business opportunities for the African Youth going to open up in different sectors of the economy. Africa needs to start its own model of economic prosperity for its people by developing policies that encourage African ideas and innovations. The African continent body should encourage African heads of government and heads of states to encourage their citizens to start their own banking facilities which will enable them to support business ideas of young African entrepreneurs. Having African own banks supporting young African entrepreneurs by offering conditions that are so attractive will help Youthful entrepreneurs on the continent to tread that route. For example, the soup making (SABUNI) venture in Serra Leone should be supported by all well-meaning Africans as it will help to employ many unemployed African Youths in the West Africa state. This is a sure way of increasing productivity on the continent.
The sector that African Youths needs to serious embrace is the Agricultural sector. The growing population of the continent needs to be fed and such when the continent begins to produce more than enough for consumption on the continent and exporting some, then it is headed in the right direction. It is against this background that the African Youths are encouraged to take Agriculture as a way of finding the much desired opportunities. Governments can offer land on lease for a good number of years to the African Youths willing to take up Agriculture for a career. Reduce or suspend tax on the produce to encourage more production and subsidizing the farming implements would help the Young Agriculturalists to seriously venture into the sector. Increased food production on the continent will surely go a long way to making the continent self-sustaining. Africa needs to end its dependency syndrome on the West and the Far East.
The education system has also not helped the Youth generation on the continent to excel as well. It must be mentioned that the education system in place in many African states is an adoption of the colonial masters’ style of running their education. Africa has so far not developed their own model of education which is a true representation of the culture, aspirations and needs of the society. It is also disheartening to learn that most countries on the continent are not in complete control of the programmes they implement in their education systems. Most programmes undertaken in the education systems on the continent are as a result of the external influence from the people funding the social-economic programmes in many African States. The youths are the most affected by the policies that are implemented in the education systems on the continent.
The continent needs to develop an education system that is unique and alive to the needs of the continent. African Culture should be the foundation of the education system of the continent. African learners should learn to appreciate what is theirs and believe that something good can should come out of Africa thereby exorcising the ghost of low self-esteem that has dodged the continent for a number of years now.
The plight of the African Youth rest on the laurels of the Youth to take up the mantle and push for the opportunities that are going to flourish the African dream.
The African Dream is in the hands of the Youthful African population. The African Youths having seen the mistakes of the older generation have an opportunity to write those wrongs and push for a debt free Africa.