African leaders attending the 69th United Nations General Assembly Special Session on International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Beyond 2014 will do well to put their house in order in the wake of the current population projections. While the global population is expected to increase from 7.2 billion to nearly 11 billion by 2100 according to U.N. reports, Africa’s population is expected to quadruple in size, with young people making a large part of it. Currently, one in five adolescents in the world comes from Africa.
Without proactive foresight, a backlash from the growing numbers of disgruntled and unemployed youth could increase social risks and tensions while prospects of the youth drowning in the Mediterranean as they flee their continent could negate the ‘Africa Rising’ narrative.
African leaders have an onerous opportunity to invest in appropriate policies, strategies and programs that will make youths to be confident of their continent; create jobs, ensure good health, impart relevant education and skill and development among the youth; and shape the youth into global leaders.