Young people can play an important role in economic growth, it is essential that young people in Africa are informed and engaged in the global vision to positively impact economies and improve sustainable development. They can lead African economies to development if their talents are honed and their minds sharp.
According to ILO The Lab – Market systems development for decent work report on the work of young Africans, “Currently, 800 million people on the continent are under the age of 25, representing 60% of its total population. These young people will enter the workforce in increasing numbers and put intense pressure on systems that are already struggling to keep up.” Young people have the energy, creativity, knowledge and skills to create positive impact, but there are significant challenges to the phenomenon of youth development in Africa and these include: the impact of globalization; population explosion and youth bulge; the internet, digital communications and social media; climate change and environmental degradation and an increase in global security threats. In addition, young women are disproportionately excluded from labor markets; six out of ten young Africans who are not in education, employment or training are women. Women have to manage additional responsibilities that limit their time, nearly 80% have married and given birth to children by the age of 25.
To foster the development of young people and help them overcome these challenges, it is important to recognize that they can be leaders now, even if there is still room for growth, find out what they are good at and challenge them to take it to the next level through skills and entrepreneurship development. The development and growth of the global economy can be attributed to many factors, including youth development and entrepreneurship, as this leads to improved living standards, wealth and job creation. Young entrepreneurs contribute to change in economies through innovation, creating new markets with their products and services, thereby contributing to national income, the growth of other sectors and overall economic development. However, for the businesses of young entrepreneurs to thrive better, it is important that they build their capacity to manage these businesses, learn from the successes and failures of others, engage in training to develop adequate business skills and advice through mentoring.
Mentoring and entrepreneurship development plays a central role in helping young people better understand what to expect and overcome barriers and skills gaps, and build their capacity to become better at work or run their own business. Enabling young entrepreneurs to access market opportunities will provide the opportunities needed to accelerate economic growth despite obstacles that have become more daunting, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic. The involvement of young people in all sectors must be supported so that they tap into several reservoirs of opportunities. Governments of African countries should ensure that an enabling ecosystem is in place to ensure that young people have the capacity to seize quality job opportunities, especially through entrepreneurship and self-employment.
Lately, opportunities have multiplied in the agriculture and technology sectors, especially during COVID-19, as more and more companies are doing digital transactions to limit physical activities to curb the spread of the pandemic. Despite the rapid response to the COVID-19 outbreak globally, there are currently limited targeted interventions focused on young entrepreneurs during this time. It is vitally important that some of these initiatives focus on expanding young people’s access to finance. According to Britannica, “Agriculture is by far the most important economic activity in Africa. It provides jobs for about two-thirds of the continent’s working population and for each country contributes on average 30 to 60 percent of the gross domestic product and about 30 percent of the value of exports”. It is imperative to effectively integrate youth into agribusiness, technology and other sectors to reap the benefits of poverty reduction, job and wealth creation and also to achieve sustainable development and sustainable growth.
I envision a continent where all the human rights of young people are respected and recommend support that will empower them. This can be made possible through Youth Innovation Funds to help young people develop creative/innovative ideas and funding to bring those ideas to fruition. Also, through more youth development programs in Africa to empower them to become active contributors and collaborators, excited to explore their impact on the world around them.
Ultimately, young people are advised to have a more optimistic approach to their future and take advantage of development programs that promote positive outcomes by providing opportunities, fostering positive relationships and providing the support needed to strengthen their self-esteem, develop their skills and succeed. their full potential.
Adeoye is a development program specialist with expertise in implementing strategies, processes and systems that support the management of programs, particularly those focused on financial inclusion.
Adeoye is a development program specialist with expertise in implementing strategies, processes and systems that support program management.