At a time like this where Africa is working towards achieving the Agenda 2063, the question is what kind of youths does Africa need? Can Africa really silence the Guns by 2063? If yes, what must she do to achieve this great project?
For Africa to achieve these objectives, the African youths have to be partakers and not just beneficiaries. Therefore, Africa is in great need of youths who believe in their potentials and are willing to adapt to the new changes that will come along with this project, youths who will not just sit, depend and blame the government, but youths who are willing to create opportunities for themselves and others. Africa needs youths who are willing to take up leadership responsibilities than those who sit idle with mediocre and blame the existing leaders. Africa needs youths who believe in the African Dream (one of which is silencing the guns by 2063) and are willing to make it come true. Youths with Entrepreneurial mindsets
What then is the role of the African youth?
The role of African youth is drastically changing, but so are some of the challenges we face, such as employability and entrepreneurship opportunities. The strength of any society lies in the youth. However, what investment are young people making in our continent today?
In the past 2 years, I have seen African youths more committed than ever before in a bit to make mother Africa a great continent and I have had the privilege to work with some of them. The impact covers Health, Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Corporate Development, etc.
Some of these African youths are but not limited to Javnyuy Joybert CEO and Founder of COSDEF Group and CELBMD Africa from Cameroon, Mike Oladipo CEO and founder of MOGI Leadership Academy from Nigeria. We also have Teke Samuel CEO and Founder of Teksglobal from Cameroon, Hatim El Otmani Founder and President at Atlas for development from Morocco, and many others.
Africa needs me, Africa needs you and Africa needs us.
As a continent, we have not done a good job of telling our own stories, both good and bad, affecting our people. As African youths, it is time we start telling our own stories. Believe in the African Dream and question ourselves on the part we have to play as young people.
On the other hand, achieving the African dream is not just the role of the youths though they have 70% of the part to be played. The African Union and other African political leaders have about 30% role to play. This is the climax as concerns silencing the guns by 2063.Can we achieve this when arm conflicts seem to be increasing in our African states and the sound of the gun seems to be a new rhythm that our local and poor population have to dance to? Thousands of Africans youths are lost at sea trying to leave the continent for greener pastures caused by youth unemployment, gross mismanagement of government institutions and resources, xenophobia among our own people and the general restlessness and frustrations of young African people. The answer is YES, WE CAN!
The African Union and our public officials have failed to make Africa a safe place for the young people by not providing a conducive environment where business can thrive. One of the reasons young people have taken up arms and others illegally move to Europe via the Mediterranean is out of frustration.
To achieve this dream, African leaders and the AU have to make Africa a safe environment by providing job opportunities, encourage entrepreneurship, support small and medium size enterprises by giving them tax Holidays.
With this, I strongly believe there is no youth who will either resign from his job or allow his /her business for a useless and senseless war. However, as it is scripturally backed, “an idle mind is the devils workshop”. They can easily believe to fight and take up arms due to frustration, which comes because of idleness.
To my fellow young people, I feel it is important for us to exert more of our time and energy on issues that affect our continent and our people. I believe that if we do not take ownership and responsibility for our problems and challenges, we run the risk of allowing other nations, organizations and institutions to do so on their terms. My question to fellow young Africans is ‘what are you doing in making Africa what you want?
With the fourth Industrial Revolution upon us and the rate at which technology is advancing, it is critical that we have a sufficient, educated and skilled workforce to be able to drive Africa in this direction. There is currently a mismatch between industry demands and the education curriculum. Education institutions need to update their curricula to align with the direction in which the world and Africa are going. If we ignore this, our young people will have irrelevant qualifications that the continent will be unable to benefit from and thus the guns will continue to sound on our streets as the option for the absolute and the irrelevant.
It is worrying to note the rate at which young educated Africans seek opportunities abroad. The grass is not always greener on the other side, however, leaders of other nations are also facing domestic challenges and therefore not prioritizing immigrants. If our educational institutions can include entrepreneurship and servant leadership as a mandatory subject at all levels of education, more young people will be better equipped to create jobs and address the issue of high unemployment.
I am a strong advocate for local solutions to local challenges, but for this to happen, we need to encourage and cultivate innovation among our youth. It is encouraging to note that there are pockets of this already taking place across the continent, where we can see uptake and use of locally designed technology. More of these needs to happen across the board, covering the different sectors of our economies, as Africa still lags behind the rest of the world when it comes to introducing disruptive technology. Human development is about creating opportunities and building a person’s ability to innovate and be entrepreneurial. Significant investment needs to go towards this.
Let us believe in the potentials of the African Youth, learn to invest in the African youth and above all, intentionally create a culture that encourages the building and shaping of the Africa that we want. The change we want begins with us coming together and developing our own culture and value system for thinking, planning, implementation, accountability, integrity and collaboration. It is up to us as young Africans to shape the narrative of our continent. Let us begin to do so, in every sphere of society.
Africa needs me, Africa needs you and Africa needs us.