Youth Champions for The Africa We Want

‘The time is now for African Youth to champion Africa’s integration and unity for the Africa we want before 2063!

Three weeks ago, I was engaged in a Pan African conversation with 15 young leaders between 22 -29 years old. Among the several issues examined was the Agenda 2063, especially in line with potential dividends for African youth. One of these youth posed a question as to whether we believe Agenda 2063 is realistic enough and how we thought youth could be engaged to ensure its effective implementation. Another puzzle was raised regarding alternative measures to ensure effective realization of the Agenda considering that it was largely conceived and drafted by the very African governments and leaders whose failures with previous ambitious development Agendas cannot be over emphasized. These preoccupations are just few of the many concerns that various African stakeholders have been expressing vis-à-vis Agenda2063. 

How realistic is the Agenda 2063 for the African youth?
In response to this concern, most of the youth leaders present enthusiastically reacted by expressing their frustrations and pessimism regarding such development initiative including Agenda 2063 that have been undertaken by the African Union and her member states without prior consultation of all stakeholders including the youth and women. In concord with these youths, it is incumbent on us to further stress that Agenda 2063 still lacks the spirit/sense of ownership from African masses majority of whom are youth and women in whose hands any sustainable future for Africa depends. Secondly, the fact that since launching the Agenda 2063 by the African Union, it remains unpopular even among the African elites/urban populations talk less of the rural masses compared to the impressive popularity of the global Agenda 2030 (SDGs). Thirdly, it is no more secret that over 60% of the over 1.3 billion African population are youth especially below 30 years old. This justifies the current thematic focus on ‘Harnessing the demographic dividends by investing in the youth’ under the auspices of the African Union. It is the overwhelming potentials, positive energy, enthusiasm, determination, responsible leadership, unity anchored on the ideals of Pan Africanism which when harnessed would guarantee realization of the Agenda 2063. But, African governments and leaders need to increase investments in the holistic grooming of youth proportionate to their needs, challenges and contributions to Africa’s sustainable development. 

In a more optimistic tone, I share the conviction that with a steadily increasing youth population with more consciousness and burning quest for ‘An Integrated Continent, Politically United Based on the Ideals of Pan Africanism and the Vision of Africa’s Renaissance’, it mainly suffices to invest, encourage and mentor youth towards the Africa they want even sooner than 2063. With ‘#YouthPower’, collective efforts and determination, African youth possess all it takes to drive change across the continent for the future they want and not a destiny imposed on them by less than 40% of an aging generation that is not sure to live and be held accountable again for their failures in realizing the African Renaissance. The outcomes of an integrated Africa, politically united shall be lived more by current generations of youth below 30 years old who should not afford to miss another chance of actively engaging at all levels of policy making and effective implementation.  

Furthermore, it is imperative to invest in the capacity building and political empowerment of youth so they can become outstanding leaders in fostering good governance, democracy, human rights, and above all sustainable development in their respective societies. While these constitute some of the bench marks towards African renaissance, it is equally vital to note that African youth must be proactive in taking their current governments to task by ensuring they are more accountable throughout their mandates.  To hold others accountable implies we young people must also be responsible through engagement in positive actions that guarantee transformation or social impact from local to national and continental levels. We must clamour for economic empowerment, employment opportunities, infrastructure, energy, ICT and high speed internet, industrialisation of agriculture, among other priority sectors that demand youth engagement towards a prosperous Africa. 

About The Author

Sakah Bernard Nsaidzedze
Sakah is currently doing his PhD in "Governance and Regional Integration" at the Pan-African University. He is also an African Youth Activist and a member of the International Panel for Ignite The Youth.

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of IGNITE THE YOUTH are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the entire society of IGNITE THE YOUTH.