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ANALYSIS: Youth Policy in Africa

National Youth Policy is important because it represents a formal acknowledgement by governments and political leadership of their obligations to the youth population in a country. Policy can be developed as a comprehensive plan for securing the well-being and development of the Youth. More significantly, in countries where a national youth policy exists, it gives government institutions and civil society organizations a mandate to follow.

From a global perspective, the drive to secure youth development, youth empowerment and youth engagement has grown as the crisis of Youth Unemployment continues to be an enormous challenge for governments all over the world. In response there has been a large amount of dialogue and research on finding effective solutions to the problems experienced by the global youth population. One of the more public responses is the convening of The First Global Forum on Youth Policies by the United Nations, Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth and other organizations in 2014. It is at this forum that national youth policy is emphasized as a “crucial” tool to enhance and monitor progress for youth.

In Africa, up to 31 African countries have established a national youth policy. Even though up to 96% of African Union member states have public institutions or government authorities that are primarily responsible for youth, only 16 out of 53 countries specifically allocated a portion of their national budget to youth and youth programming. Meanwhile, up to 12 of the 22 nations that do not have a youth policy are ranked in the bottom 30 of 170 countries in the Youth Development Index produced by the Commonwealth Youth Programme.

Although over 50% of African States have formulated national youth policies, it is disappointing to have a very small number of countries converting their vision into reality through dedicating adequate budgets and investing in the youth so to speak. Ultimately, as Snezana Samardzic-Markovic points out, “Youth policy is central to any governance…a society without a perspective for its youth is a society without a clear perspective for its own future”. Thus what remains the largest challenge for African Youth is the absence of youth policy in 22 countries on the continent. This information does paint a clear picture of just how many African governments have a committed vision to its youth and questions how we can ‘embrace’ our future without prioritizing the youth.


Specific Data on National Youth Policy, National Youth Councils and Budgets allocated to Youth (Information extracted from Youth Policy Labs to reflect an African continental perspective):



The State of Youth Policy in Africa (Policy & Legislation dedicated to the Youth)

No.
YES
(Policy Exists)
NO
(No Policy Exists)
UNCLEAR
DRAFT
(Policy Being Developed)
1
Angola
Algeria
Chad
CAR
2
Benin
Comoros
Djibouti
Cote-D’Ivoire
3
Botswana
Congo-Brazzaville
Egypt

4
Burkina Faso
Equatorial Guinea
Guinea

5
Burundi
Eritrea
Lesotho

6
Cameroon
Guinea-Bissau
Mauritania

7
Cape Verde
Libya
South Sudan

8
DRC
Mali


9
Ethiopia
Sao Tome and Principe


10
Gabon
Seychelles


11
The Gambia
Somalia


12
Ghana
Sudan


13
Kenya
Tunisia


14
Liberia



15
Madagascar



16
Malawi



17
Mauritius



18
Morocco



19
Mozambique



20
Namibia



21
Niger



22
Nigeria



23
Rwanda



24
Senegal



25
Sierra Leone



26
South Africa



27
Swaziland



28
Tanzania



29
Zambia



30
Uganda



31
Zimbabwe






Government Budgets Allocated for Youth/Youth Programming
Arranged by Hierarchy of Amount Allocated in US Dollars (Year: 2014)

No.
Country
Budget Allocated (US Dollars)
1
Nigeria
$ 503.8 million

2
Kenya
$ 307 million
3
Libya
$ 110 million
4
Morocco
$ 107 million
5
Zimbabwe
$ 44.5 million
6
Niger
$ 40.8 million
7
South Africa
$ 40 million
8
Namibia
$ 39.8 million
9
Senegal
$ 16.9 million
10
Cape Verde
$ 12.1 million

11
DRC
$ 5.9 million
12
Ghana
$ 3.7 million
13
Tanzania
$ 2.5 million
14
Rwanda
$2.4 million
15
Mauritius
$ 2.3 million
16
Uganda
$ 10,413.29










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