Young people in Africa have been recognised as an asset rather than a problem by world leaders who also committed to investing in projects that would provide them with jobs and opportunities.
Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame, who was one of the African heads of state present at the investment roundtable for young people in Africa, said the recently signed African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement would expand opportunities for the youth.
‘‘Bigger markets, free movement of people and the elimination of internal trade will soon be reality on our continent,’‘ Kagame said.
For a long time, governments across the world have been giving aid to Africa. It's now time to convert that aid to trade by investing in Africa's growth.
President Kagame: Any endeavour to empower young people must be based on good politics that is inclusive and that leaves no one behind, especially women and girls. What we need is to translate good ideas and plans into action. #UNGA— Presidency | Rwanda (@UrugwiroVillage) September 25, 2018
Other African leaders who were scheduled to speak at the event held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly were Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Ghana’s Nana-Akufo Addo, Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari and Sierra Leone’s Julius Maada Bio.
Africa’s youth question
By 2030, there will be about 1.3 billion 15 to 24 year olds on the planet, some 100 million more than in 2015.
Africa’s youth population in particular is rapidly growing and is expected to double to over 830 million by 2050.
While 10-12 million youth enter the workforce in Africa each year, only 3 million jobs are created annually, fuelling unemployment and economic frustration for many young people.
Several initiatives are being implemented by institutions like the United Nations, African Union, African Development Bank and the UK’s Department for International Development, to generate more job opportunities for the youth.
DFID (@DFID_UK) September 26, 2018
Creating economic growth and good, well-paying jobs – especially for youth – is a global challenge. Insightful discussion at #UNGA today on the work we can do together to make sure more young people in Africa have better opportunities to succeed. pic.twitter.com/Aie8ObTK3D— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) September 26, 2018
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Congratulations to our #YALI2018 Fellows who participated in a roundtable with— MandelaWshFellowship (@WashFellowship) September 25, 2018
JustinTrudeau& theresa_may at #UNGA today! We are proud of how #MandelaFellows continue to lead on a global stage!
DFID_UKECAatState #InvestinAfrica pic.twitter.com/Cda4bVe8c7
Entrepreneurs from the continent, who are currently participating in the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders shared their experiences and proposed solutions to the world leaders that included the United Nations secretary general, Antonio Guterres and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates.
‘‘Africa has a lot of resources, but we have to be sure that we can exploit them in a sustainable way,’‘ said Marie Josee Houenou from Ivory Coast.
‘‘For a long time, governments across the world have been giving aid to Africa. It’s now time to convert that aid to trade by investing in Africa’s growth,’‘ Auxence Muhigwa from Democratic Republic of Congo.
‘‘While Africa is the future, it is important to note that young people are not the future. Young people are now,’‘ said Shaban Senyange from Uganda.
It was an absolute pleasure meeting The Canadian PM— #NatureBoy (@ShabanSenyange) September 26, 2018
JustinTrudeauand UK PM theresa_may but most importantly talking to them about Investing in young people on the continent. Thank you for creating such spaces. #InvestInAfrica #YALI2018
“If you really care about poverty & justice, give people jobs” –— Christian Turner (CTurnerFCO) September 25, 2018
10DowningStreetleads call with African & private sector leaders to invest in Africa, creating 18m jobs a year to 2035 #InvestInAfrica #UNGA18 https://t.co/DmVpUBd0uP