Nigeria News: Donald Duke, others task youths on leadership

Youths have been enjoined to take proactive steps in seizing the mantle of leadership.

The call was made by a former governor of Cross River State and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) presidential candidate in next year’s general election, Mr. Donald Duke, and a managing partner with accounting firm Price Water and Coopers, Mr. Uyi Akpata. It was at a reception held in honour of Mr. Bode Olanipekun, to celebrate his elevation to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

Also, while moderating the discussion on how the youths can seize opportunities amid obstacles against growth in the nation, Dr. Oladapo Olanipekun (SAN), threw pertinent questions at the panelists.

Akpata noted that the youths are afraid to take on challenges that seem to place them at a vantage position. He noted that they are often overwhelmed by the circumstances that could be political, environmental and psychological. He added that good education is a springboard to lift the youths to an enviable position, but the will and confident to excel must also be inculcated in them.

“It is very easy to just look at Bode and say he is an example of a young man that has excelled. It is very important to have early education and also take it upon yourself to find solution to challenges.

“Other young men would have been overwhelmed and rather let their parents do the job while they lap in luxury but Bode did not take the challenge of self-development for granted. He constantly upped his game even though he also has a privileged background,” he said.

Akpata noted further that professional conduct, right background, good education, adherence to ethics and hard work will give the youths an edge.

Duke explained that the youths must turn opportunities into advantage. He noted that the ability to constantly re-invent self and the drive to do better than the rest would push the youths to achieve success in any chosen endeavour.

Guests paid glowing tributes to the Olanipekuns. They included Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) president,
Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN); a former minister of petroleum, Chief Don Etiebet; erstwhile Director-General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Professor Ndi Onyuike-Okereke; and the Ogoga of Ikere-Ekiti, Oba Ade Jimi Adu, among others.

Professor Taiwo Osipitan (SAN) added humour to the eulogies for Bode. The don noted that he taught Bode in the university but the latter had faced him in legal battles in the court several times after his call to the Bar.

He remarked: “I came in hoping to quietly sit down, enjoy my meal and banter with my colleagues but here I am, being told to talk about Bode. Where do I start from? Bode was my student in the faculty of law in the University of Lagos. I stand here to attest that he was one of my best students.

“Both Dapo and Bode were my students and I am still their mentor. Bode is hardworking, focus and very strategic. We have had to square up with one another in the court and the moment I become victorious, he comes to ask jokingly that, ‘Excuse me sir, you never taught me everything I needed to know otherwise I would have floored you,’ to which I will tell him that a teacher will not teach his student everything so that he keeps coming back to ask for advice. There is always a joker a teacher pulls when things become knotty.

“Whenever your student appear against you in court, you feel proud that you have done the right thing. It is every teacher’s prayer that his students excel and even greater than him.”

The highlight of the event was an emotion-laden speech by the celebrator himself. When he took to the microphone, he held his audience spell bound with his ennobling speech which was delivered extempore.

Source: Guardian

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Youths remain future hope of Nigeria

Chief Ifeatu Obi-Okoye, Special Adviser to Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra on Political Matters, has urged Nigerian youths to be focused and hardworking as they remained the hope of the country.

Obi-Okoye gave the advise when the Centre for Peace and Self Value-Reorientation (CPSVR) conferred on him the Award of “Integrity Stewardship” in Awka on Sunday.

He said the role of youths in nation building was inestimable, and advised them not to give up on the country but constitute themselves as positive factors in the process.

He noted that Obiano believed in the ability of youths in contributing to quality leadership which was the reason why he gave a good number of them opportunity to participate in Anambra politics.

“We are looking upon you, the young people to salvage this country and take it to the next level. We appreciate your efforts in nation building and want you to do more.

“We appreciate youthfulness and your organisation for understanding us and the level we have gone in improving the quality of lives of our people.

“I urge you to sustain the standard and continue to objectively appraise government and celebrate those who have done well.

“I am accepting this award for the special reason of your rich profile, what you stand for, the background upon which you operate as young people,” he said.

He dedicated the award to Obiano’s administration which, he said, gave him the opportunity to be recognised for the award.

Obi-Okoye said the state government had done well, especially in the area of security which was the basis for economic prosperity in any society.

“Obiano’s regime has given me the platform to excel and contribute my quota to the society, so, I dedicate this award to him.

“It is an administration that is very focused in governance; it has placed itself for service to the people and determined to improve the lives of people.

“Here in Anambra, we have made security the topmost priority of this administration because that it is the foundation upon which economy and entrepreneurship can thrive.

“As a Political Adviser, I am convinced that the government is succeeding because there is peace and security, which is why we have been able to attract a sizable amount of investment,” he said.

Mr Abraham Oyibo, Executive Secretary of CPSVR, said Obi-Okoye was nominated after an independent study of his record.

Oyibo said Nigerian youths were in search of worthy models who had demonstrated proven record of ethical uprightness in their service to humanity.

He said the awardee and other recipients would be chronicled in its Journal of Good Leadership due for publication later in the year.

Source: PM NEWS

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Uganda: Youth unemployment gap: Call for a collective response

By Morris Komakech

Most countries where youth unemployment is kept low have invested in high quality education and early childhood development

I read an interesting analysis in one of the dailies of October 31, 2018 about the social and economic pitfalls in Uganda that has made young people unrestful, unemployed and generally distrustful.

In that analysis, the writer outlines the failures of universal education system as foundational to youth unemployment today for delivering substandard quality.

Everywhere you go in Uganda, the poor quality of university and college graduates reflects a weak early educational foundation they received. When we evaluate the gaps in universal education, we examine a constellation of factors – from policy, financing, structure, content, the quality of those who manage and deliver it, to the conditions under which the education is delivered.

Numerous reports indicate that graduates and teachers of UPE and USE hardly have basic literacy skills in language, logic, critical thinking, history and arithmetic. The disparity is glaring between urban and rural settings – the education system, far from its inherent flaws, is not equitable. Thus, the high rates of drop out in rural and among female students.

Even then, the distinction between College and University remains nebulously explained. In Uganda, College path is deemed for failures, yet Colleges provide the necessary hands-on skills needed for entrepreneurship and employment.

Universities may have been traditional spaces for knowledge and ideology production, but the colonial colleges were places for skills acquisition.

Most countries where youth unemployment is kept low have invested in high quality education and early childhood development. These countries adhere to education as a pathway to reproducing high quality labour in all areas of its economy. For instance, in German, there is an emphasis on apprenticeship as a form of education. In the United States, and Canada, community colleges provide students with needed skills for employment.

Previous Uganda Census data confirm that over half of Uganda’s population comprises youth, under the age of 29; Labour statistics estimates that 86% are unemployed, under-employed and or at the level of getting to employable.

Moreover, of the unemployed youths, those who become unrestful have education but lack skills and competence to work efficiently – even basic skills such as to show up at work daily and on time. For an economy that is strange to meritocracy, well prepared youths tend to be excluded from gainful employment and opportunities.

There is a big incongruity between the National Youth Policy and National Development Agenda since both are politically inclined rather than labour focused. We see money for politicising these and not for honing youth’s skill or financing transition programs from school-to-workplace through internships, mentorship and other forms of professional socializing essential for entry level employment.

The large pool of unemployed graduates may reveal that the economy is actually shrinking rather than expanding. In 2016, UBOS found that 90% of all Ugandans under the age of 25 had no job; 58% of all Ugandans were unemployed and a whopping 65.2% of women and 47% of men were unemployed. The sanitized UBOS reports in 2018 may present a different case, but here are some of strides that Uganda must pursue urgently to integrate more people in productive work.

1) Invest in soft skills and digital jobs as pathways for harnessing youth energy productively. Youths have taken up social innovation using apps and communication through social media to participate in the digital revolution.

2) Responsible taxation policies to stimulate and encourage innovation.

3) Apprenticeships and work-based learning programs for youths to socialize early to work place settings. The graduate training program at Uganda Revenue Authority and the Partnership between Ministry of Gender and the UN Volunteers could provide models for policy makers. Work-based apprenticeships should become the face of universal education.

4) Young people involvement in research – a tradition of systematic inquiry; and high level of creative writing for publishing.

5) Create a fluid skills-focused education system where a person can change career at least thrice in a life time as it is in developed countries. Current system is too rigid to allow people change career.

Source: New Vision

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Morocco’s army service will serve interests of youth

By Jean AbiNader

To many, Morocco’s proposed law on national conscription is less about enabling young people and more about protecting the country’s power structure.

Morocco has a large, well-trained army that is expensive to maintain. Having thousands of young people rotating in and out on an annual basis may not be the most efficient use of its capabilities. Some warn that giving weapons training to those not committed to a military career may create a security risk, especially if there are few economic prospects for those people when they complete their year of service.

Youth development models in other countries often feature integration between military service and the acquisition of skills that equips young people for securing jobs. There is an array of choices to satisfy the desire to inculcate values and enable post-training employment. It may be in Morocco’s economic, political and security interests to recast the military service programme as a national service one that promotes patriotism and citizenship and teaches participants to learn respect for their fellow citizens, develop marketable skills, acquire team-building and leadership experience that will add meaning to their lives, their families and their communities.

What are Morocco’s options if it wants to develop patriots who are employable citizens? First, the programme must have meaning and relevance. To have good citizens, they must be motivated beyond a simple military salary by sharing a vision of how they can contribute to the advancement of the country.

Start with a well-thought-out strategy with several streams that can be managed effectively by a public-partnership partnership, including NGOs. It requires a vision that is communicated effectively to all Moroccans — young men and women, marginalised teens and school dropouts, unemployed university graduates and civil society.

Assuming that participation is mandatory, the vetting should begin in secondary school or with 18-year-olds who have not finished high school. Morocco has had enough experience with testing trainees to determine their likely assets and how to develop them.

After placement results are measured, students would be encouraged to choose among military service in select specialties, studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics leading to an associate degree or skills training tied to internship programmes. Other aspects could include promoting collaboration between urban and rural constituencies, encouraging participation of young women and blending the talents of university graduates with younger Moroccans.

Participants could be channelled into 1- or 2-year incentivised programmes such as those of the High Atlas Foundation, the Book Caravan or CorpsAfrica that can be extended into other areas utilising the developing talents of youth.

School dropouts can be handled in the same way: testing for skills that do not rely on literacy alone, interviews to determine placement priorities and subsidies in the form of military salaries or work-study grants. There may be many talented young people in the informal sector who could make important benefits to the country if given training and opportunities.

The larger question is leadership development. The first year should be spent training cadres of military and non-military staff participants in leadership, team building, metrics and evaluation, human-resources management, talent retention and promotion and administrative skills — all of which are essential to developing the next generation of Morocco’s leaders.

Moroccan King Mohammed VI said: “We cannot let our education system continue to produce unemployed people, especially in certain branches of study, in which graduates — as everyone knows — find it extremely hard to access the job market.”

The need is far beyond well-designed and -equipped programmes. The critical development of teachers, trainers, managers and specialists at all levels is the key to the success of an integrated national youth service model.

In discussions about this concept, Moroccans are quick to point out that the needs of the military should not be minimised. The military faces a challenge in recruiting, training and retaining young people with critical IT skills such as interpreting satellite imagery and reconnaissance to cybersecurity. These skills do not require a university education but rather a comprehensive programme to develop skills that youth seem to manage with greater ease than others.

This is all doable, practical, sustainable and relevant to the present and future of Morocco. If the government is ready to fund an ill-defined military experience for young people, wouldn’t it be more efficient and effective to take a year to develop a strategy for promoting a future of employable patriots?

If the government is committed to empowering youth with values and skills to become more able and productive citizens, then a comprehensive strategy for youth development that integrates military service, national service and educational reform should be a priority.

It is time to seize the future for Morocco and its youth.

Source: The Arab Weekly

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Nigerian youth: A generation on edge

By Pastor Fola Ojo

It was around midday July 19, 2018. My uncle, a 76-year-old retired banker, was relaxing in his home clutching to his transistor radio. The small electronic appliance had been his most candid companion and most reliable source of news of goings on around the world since he suffered a Transient Ischemic Attack popularly called stroke, more than a decade ago. Because of the disease, his gaits became unsteady, his voice feeble, but his mind was quick-witted as he hoped to live to be 90 years old and walk his grandchildren to the altar of marriage.

Like a bolt out of the blues, an intruder strolled in as my uncle was catnapping. The intruder roused him up demanding money. He recognised the intruder. The boy lived in his family house right adjacent my uncle’s. A troubled and troubling young man in his mid-20s he was. He has always been in and out of trouble since he mastered to mumble ‘Dadda and Mamma’. One of my uncle’s daughters had even helped strap the young man on her back in nurturing when he was an infant. The depraved young man seized my uncle’s wallet and emptied the N3,000 therein. He ransacked the house and took a bottle of palm oil that probably cost not more than N500. He was not done. He came back to my uncle, hitting him on the head several times with a heavy chair. You probably want to ask him why? After all his victim couldn’t fight back the invasion of his privacy and the right to live in peace in his own house. But the poltroon murdered my peace-loving, ever meek uncle in cold blood. Pictures of the dead I saw made my stomach sick; and my spirit abhorrent of Nigeria. The crime scene was too gory to behold. In a small town like my Nigerian home-town, suspicion pointed in a few directions. Around September, the long arms of the law caught up with the maddening Mephistopheles in his hideout. He is cooling off his heels today in the calaboose. What we have in Nigeria today is a young generation of Nigerians on edge.

A similar story I read on Wednesday. A friend of mine posted on his Facebook wall how tragedy also struck his city. One of the heads of his community was stabbed to death by a young man who had just been hired as a cook. Music was turned on loud so that the victim’s screams for help couldn’t be heard by neighbours. The man was stabbed in multiple places. The perpetrator pulled off the blood-stained white apron worn by cooks and dumped it in the toilet. The weapon, a long sharp military-styled knife, was also abandoned at the scene. The whole house was ransacked and turned inside out. Valuables including cash, jewelries and electronics were hauled off. The crime scene was full of gore and gruesomeness. The perpetrator remains at large. Many of our young people have gone berserk, and we all know why.

This treatise is not an attempt to justify our young people’s turpitude. But must the oldies in positions of authority fold their arms and watch the future of a nation waste away? These young people are the nation’s present and future. They are the crème de la crème and corps d’elite of the engine that drives everything. They are the hearts of our police protecting our streets; and major organs of the military fighting our wars. They build our roads and labour in our businesses; and no glorious things have happened to Nigeria that her youths did not help bring about. Grating economic conditions have forced the girls to become high-end prostitutes, and the boys have turned killers, kidnappers, thugs, and armed robbers.

It is projected that by the year 2030, Nigeria will be one of those nations in the world whose youth population will form the heart of abounding and blossoming young workers. About 90 million young people who should be assets to our nation are now asses over which the powerful ride roughshod. For decades, their country has failed and defiled them. Public schools teach them nonsense. A Bachelor of Arts degree holder in Mediocrity cannot hold his own in a global economy. An awardee of a Master of Science degree in Execrable cannot add excellence to the world around him. A man can never give what he does not have. Even with Nigeria’s 153 universities, and 140 polytechnics, monotechnics, and Colleges of education in Nigeria, illiteracy is rising at the rate of 79% for boys and 64% for girls between ages 15 and 24. The number of universities may jump to about 350 if the pending 200 private university applications with the National Universities Commission are approved. Altogether, Nigerian tertiary institutions reportedly produce about 500,000 graduates every year, and 47% of them are unemployed; and about 80% of them are unemployable. Nigerian graduates lack attributes such as analytical and good communication skills; among other deficiencies. In other words, these children went through school for seven years instead of four, and they came out empty-headed. Throughout their stay in school, the four walls of their classrooms only became breeding grounds for higher-ground crimes and criminalities as their uneducated minds easily embraced depraved behaviour.

Education indicators are poor nationwide. Nigeria’s literacy rate is estimated at 61% with many out-of-school children and young adults with limited literacy and numeracy skills who have little hope of ever joining the formal workforce. Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the man running to be President this season, once declared that students in his privately-owned university are smarter and more intelligent than PhD graduates from Nigerian public universities. Do you wonder why for many years, 40 million Nigerian youths remain unemployed, and 80% Nigerian graduates are unemployable?

Election season is here. Many perverted politicians may already be grooming young boys and girls in whose hands they will put guns and machetes to kill opponents. Mr. Politician, is that what these hapless boys and girls need? Why don’t you give them books and pens and knowledgeable tutors to guide them into knowledge? Don’t you know that good education helps a nation rewrite its ugly stories? Can your campaign focus on growth and development of these kids instead of your lousy ambition? I hope you are reading this. Nigeria will be building a mirage of a dream if she does not build the lives of her youths. We will always go to bed with one eye closed; and vices and threats to lives and property will go through the roof if this issue does not become a priority of those who lead us in both state and federal governments.

Election season is here. Many perverted politicians may already be grooming young boys and girls in whose hands they will put guns and machetes to kill opponents. Mr. Politician, is that what these hapless boys and girls need? Why don’t you give them books and pens and knowledgeable tutors to guide them into knowledge? Don’t you know that good education helps a nation rewrite its ugly stories? Can your campaign focus on growth and development of these kids instead of your lousy ambition? I hope you are reading this. Nigeria will be building a mirage of a dream if she does not build the lives of her youths. We will always go to bed with one eye closed; and vices and threats to lives and property will go through the roof if this issue does not become a priority of those who lead us in both state and federal governments.

Source: PUNCH

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Youth and Revolution in Tunisia

By Alcinda Honwana

The uprising in Tunisia has come to be seen as the first true revolution of the twenty-first century, one that kick-started the series of upheavals across the region now known as the Arab Spring. In this remarkable work, Alcinda Honwana goes beyond superficial accounts of what occurred to explore the defining role of the country’s youth, and in particular the cyber activist.

Drawing on fresh testimony from those who shaped events, the book describes in detail the experiences of young activists through the 29 days of the revolution and the challenges they encountered after the fall of the regime and the dismantling of the ruling party. Now, as old and newly established political forces are moving into the political void created by Ben Ali’s departure, tensions between the older and younger generations are sharpening.

An essential account of an event that has inspired the world, and its potential repercussions for the Middle East, Africa and beyond.

Reviews

‘Alcinda Honwana’s study of the Tunisian revolution is remarkable for its extensive use of the views of Tunisia’s youth about the roles they played and the marginalisation they feel over the events of 2010 and 2011. Her book gives us a rare insight into the way in which the downfall of the Ben Ali regime was encompassed and what has happened to the aspirations of those most immediately involved. As such it is an invaluable addition to our knowledge of the wider revolution in the Arab world today.’ – George Joffé, Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), University of Cambridge

‘Alcinda’s book is an excellent analysis of the youth’s contribution in the Tunisian revolution. This comes as no surprise as Alcinda was able to build excellent relations with the youth who spoke with her openly about their role in the revolution as well as their hopes about the future.’ – Hakim Ben Hammouda, special advisor to the president of the African Development Bank and former chief economist and sirector of the Trade, Finance and Economic Development Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa

Source: African Arguments

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3 ways Africa can unleash the potential of its youth and women

By Vanessa Moungar

Everyone deserves a fair chance at life. However, the reality is that getting a fair chance depends on your context.

Today, tens of millions of young Africans enter the job market expecting employment, which they won’t find. Consequently, discontent is growing, young people are roaring, and in some capitals, they are taking it to the streets. There are many reasons to explain these high levels of joblessness, from lack of skills to poor education quality. Across Africa, millions of boys and girls are still out of school, which dramatically reduces their chance of realizing their potential. In particular, many girls are married off at a young age instead of staying in school. Missing on their rights to self-determination, they end up having more children than they would have wanted and becoming victims of abuse in cases where marriage becomes the only source of economic survival.

African leaders have recognized the urgency of investing in Africa’s women and youth to ensure they are productive agents of their growing economies. Indeed, they have articulated the African Union 2017 Roadmap around the theme of harnessing the demographic dividend. But this can’t be business as usual. African states need to invest with ambition, focus and efficiency to ensure that youth that are educated and empowered today become productive agents of their growing economies tomorrow. Beyond policy, governments will need to work closely with the private sector, multilateral organizations and civil society to scale up the programmes that work, and make that agenda a reality. Following that call from the African Union and the United Nation’s Population Fund, a global partnership of stakeholders from the various sectors is being assembled to advise and provide practical solutions to Empower, Educate and Employ women and youth.

Here are some of the top priorities:

Empower

Young people need to have the space to express their aspirations and to be part of building Africa’s future. Civic participation in nation building is central to reducing youth vulnerability and maximizing human capital investments. Indeed, young people have a role to play in ensuring accountability from their government and must be empowered to become the real custodians of their future.

Besides, no country in the world has ever achieved a demographic dividend without making a significant investment in access to family planning. Fertility is higher in sub-Saharan Africa than anywhere in the world and falling very slowly. There, in addition to enforcing laws to prevent child marriage and scaling up cash transfer programs for school attendance, governments must leverage partnerships with the pharmaceutical industry as well as logistics experts to bring family planning options to women everywhere, even in the most remote areas. They can ensure private health insurance covers family planning and education, work with media to open conversations about family planning or marriage age, and partner with community based organizations to engage communities.

Educate

Progress has been made in school enrolment in recent decades, as more children are accessing school today than at the turn of the century. However, 130 million girls around the world are still being denied an education — and 51 million of them are here in Africa. And among the ones having the privilege of going to school, many are not learning or completing their studies.

To change this, a radical shift is needed in the way education is financed and how those funds are used. For starters, increased financing for education is needed from both international donors and domestic resources. But importantly, any increase in financing must be matched by country-level reforms that increase effectiveness and improve accountability around spending. This includes public-private partnerships to review and adapt curriculum and training to market needs. New technologies open the door to much progress in both reach and quality of education, and vocational training models have proven successful in speeding up school to work transition. Finally, by incentivizing private sector investment through a competitive education market, governments can encourage the creation of first class regional educational institutions.

Employ

Policies to facilitate job creation need to be dramatically accelerated on the continent, to absorb its bulging working-age population. Current global efforts through the African Union and the G20 Compact with Africa can support the creation of a significant number of jobs. Harmony between both global processes is imperative to create mutually reinforcing synergies. The G20 Compact must dovetail into what the African economies need to harness this demographic dividend. Talk is cheap however, so all stakeholders – regional and international – must keep their promises and match their words with actions.

Governments must also incentivize youth employment and leverage the multiple existing private-sector-led initiatives to expand internships, apprenticeships and on-the-job training. Beyond these jobs, youth needs policies that enable easier access to business capital, which can happen through microcredit and SME financing programmes in partnership with the banking sector. Overall, competitiveness must improve for markets to offer opportunities to entrepreneurs, as well as to attract larger investors in sectors with job-multiplier effects, such as manufacturing, agro industries and ICT.

These are some of the top-line, priority recommendations. And the good news is that most of these laws and programmes already exist. They just need to be implemented or scaled up. It will require government coordination across many areas, clear and practical national plans, and optimum engagement of civil society, the private sector and the international community at large, to mobilize the adequate capacity and investment required.

Investing in young people, particularly girls, is one of the most powerful steps a nation can take to spur progress and advancement for all its citizens. For Africa it’s not just the right thing to do, it’s a must do for the continent to survive and thrive.

Source: World Economic Forum

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How can young people secure a better future for Africa?

By Gerald Chirinda

With 70% of Africa’s population under the age of 30, we as a continent are presented with a great opportunity and, possibly, a great challenge. Young Africans today are taking actions that not only have an immediate impact, but will also determine the future of the continent for decades to come.

Never has there been such weighty responsibility on the shoulders of young people. Never has there been the influence in the hands of young people like the influence they carry now. But for Africa to reap the dividends she has longed for, it is up to our generation to make sure that influence is channelled correctly and directed towards relevant issues that affect not only ourselves, but generations after us. This can only be achieved if we come together as young people and begin to address the challenges before us as a continent.

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 is within the strength and resolve of its youth – what investment are young people making in our continent today?

In the past 6 months, I’ve listened to the argument stating that we have spent more time focused on what’s happening in other continents, like the US presidency, and less on local issues. I have had the privilege of being invited to speak at different platforms across Africa and have met and engaged with fellow young people who know less about my country Zimbabwe but more of what’s happening in the US and in Europe, and these discussions brought us to a conclusion that as a continent we have not done a good job in telling our own stories, both good and bad, affecting our people. (Could you tell us a bit about your background here – in what capacity are you listening to these arguments?) There are important matters such as the thousands of lives of fellow Africans lost at sea when trying to leave the continent for greener pastures, youth unemployment, gross mismanagement of government institutions and resources, xenophobia among our own people and the general restlessness and frustrations of young African people.

There’s no problem with us engaging in discourse at a global level, but 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 if we, as youth, don’t 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 are we creating a future in which generations after us can be confident?

A lot has been said about Africa and its rise in the past few years. For this to be true, I believe it requires its people to also rise and drive the agenda, not wait for instruction or direction from other nations. If this doesn’t happen, Africa may still rise, but only for those with an agenda for the continent. This then begs me the question of fellow young Africans: what is our agenda, and what are we doing to shape that agenda?

With regard to employability, according to the African Development Bank report, by 2050 Africa will be home to 38 of the 40 youngest countries in the world, with median populations under 25 years of age. This will result in an estimated 10-12 millionnew people joining the labour force each year. These statistics clearly indicate that a considerable amount of investment must go into human development to unlock a demographic dividend. What innovative policies and programmes do we, as young people, want to make sure that this happens and that this growth will not result in a demographic time bomb for Africa?

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution upon us and the rate at which technology is advancing it is critical that we have a sufficiently 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.

It is worrying to note the rate at which young educated Africans are leaving to seek more opportunities abroad. The grass is not always greener on the other side, however, as leaders of other nations are also facing domestic challenges and therefore not prioritizing immigrants. If our educational institutions can include entrepreneurship 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 this 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.

With the growth of the continent, it only makes sense for us to industrialize in order to be less reliant on importing products for consumption from outside the continent. According to the African Economic Outlook 2017 report, Africa’s growing population is expected to generate a rise in consumer spending from $680 billion in 2008 to $2.2 trillion in 2030. This increased spending has the potential to lead to greater prosperity.

The growth in Africa’s population presents a huge opportunity for entrepreneurial innovations and ideas to be implemented. It does, however, require strong political will to enable the right environment to be created to encourage these ideas and for entrepreneurs to be supported in their different stages of growth, from start-up, early stage and growth stage right through to becoming large corporations.

As you may notice, this article asks more questions than it provides solutions. The best way for us to answer these is if we begin to engage in conversations and dialogue amongst ourselves as young Africans and see what solutions we can come up with for a better Africa. We spend time complaining about poor leadership in our countries, but my final question is: are we ourselves prepared to succeed the generation that precedes us?

Let us 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.

Source: World Economic Forum

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NYLC: Youths are solutions to Nigeria’s problems

By Victoria Onehi

Youths have been charged to see themselves as solution to Nigeria’s problems. This charge was given by Senator Dino Melaye while making remarks at the National Youth Leadership Conference, held in Abuja on Tuesday.

Melaye while speaking on the theme of the conference ‘2019 and Beyond: Leaders Nigeria Needs’ said the future of the country was in the hand of the youths. “As youths of this country, you need to grab it, you need to take charge and you need to overcome fear.” he said.

In her speech, the special guest of Honour and former Minister of Women Development, Hajiya Zainab Maina said the youths were leaders for today and tomorrow.

“Nigeria Youths like their counterparts in other countries if given the opportunity are very dynamic, very versatile, intelligent, dedicated. The empowerment and contribution of the youths towards nation building cannot be ignored as it is the essential element for sustainable development,” she said.

Chairperson of the National Youth Leadership Conference (NYLC) Miss Chimdi Neliaku, said the conference is aimed at raising the consciousness of young people to know qualities they should look out for in the leaders they should vote for in 2019 and beyond.

Source: Daily Trust

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Entrepreneur encourages youths to go into shoe making business

A 42-year-old entrepreneur, Adamu Usman on Thursday advised youths to stop waiting for white collar job and join the shoemaking industry so as to be self-reliant.

Usman who is the CEO of Yasko Footwear Technology, Kaduna, said that he had received a training on shoemaking by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) in 2012 before embarking on the business.

“Shoemaking is a profitable business, I developed the passion to produce footwear after finishing secondary school.

“This made me undergo a six months training on shoemaking at the NDE and I was given a start-up loan of shoe making machines and equipment after the training, “he said.

The entrepreneur said that he had been in the business for five years now and had trained more than 100 people on the business with five employees working under him.

He added that his company makes different kind of shoes which are being patronized by military, paramilitary, schools, shoe dealers, boutiques, companies and individuals.

Usman said he started the business in a shop but now run the business from a four-bedroom flat and also won the 2018 Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) award in leather works.

The award winner urged Nigerians to patronize made in Nigeria shoes because according to him they more qualitative than the foreign ones.

Source: PM NEWS

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