By the year 2050 Africa’s youth population is projected to be a little over 840 million, making it the continent with the youngest population on earth. The issue was raised by at a two-day consultation at the African Development Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan.
Though it is recognised that the growing young population is a potential growth-engine, without commensurate opportunities for these youth and unemployment taking hold there’s going to be trouble on the hands of governments as they battle ascending delinquency, truancy and lawlessness.
To meet the challenge head-on, the African Development Bank and its East and North African Governors endorsed the Bank-led African Investment Forum to bridge the investment gap, ensure inclusive growth, and create employment for the population.
At its African Investment Forum scheduled for November 7-9 this year in Johannesburg, South Africa, bankable projects will be showcased while attracting financing and providing platforms for investing across the continent.
With 13 percent of the world’s population resident in Africa south of the Sahara, the number is projected to double by 2050 – and with twelve years left to achieve the UN SDGs, the task of catering for Africa’s youth becomes even more daunting.
In Ghana, the high unemployment rate among the youth is seeing the ascendency of violent crime in many parts of the country, and is making security a major challenge. Thus, to stem the tide of these crime-related incidents that are creating panic in some quarters, government has to aggressively pursue employment opportunities like its flagship industrialisation policies of ‘One District, One Factory’ and ‘One Village, One Dam’, together with its flagship agricultural policy ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’.
By pursuing these initiatives to their logical end, a lot of job opportunities will be open for the teeming unemployed youth to take advantage of. Otherwise, we will continue to see an ascendency in illegal mining activities which are destroying the environment and displacing agricultural activities like cocoa farming.
Thus, Ghana looks forward to the ADB’s Investment Forum in South Africa – where crime is also rife among the jobless Black youth due to lack of opportunities. It is a wake-up call for all leaders in Africa to rise to the task and devise mechanisms that will ensure jobs for the teeming masses of young people in their various countries.
Like the old adage goes, ‘The devil finds work for idle hands’ – and we want to avert any such circumstance.