Youth: Africa Largest Interest Group

Published on 9th August 2016

Africa is the most youthful continent in the world. At least 60 percent of its more than one billion population is between the ages of 15 and 35. Experts estimate the number could double by 2045. Harnessing the full potential of the youth is necessary for Africa's economic transformation since young people are the largest interest group in the continent. A number of African governments have made some efforts towards this end.

Ghana has national youth service and empowerment programmes to equip college graduates with requisite skills and help them find jobs. Mauritius has technical and vocational education for young people. Zambia has a national youth policy and a youth enterprise fund to stimulate job creation. The Nigerian government has a skills acquisition and enterprise development programme. In the financial year 2016/17 budget allocation by sector, the government of Kenya allocated Ksh. 9.8 billion towards youth empowerment programme as a vehicle for transforming and empowering the youth.

According to a World Bank Report on youth employment  in Sub-Saharan Africa, only a quarter of the young people who enter the labor market each year over the next decade will find a salaried position, and only a small fraction of them will secure formal employment in “modern” enterprises, with the majority of young people remaining in the informal sector.

While it is important that youth be equipped with skills that match businesses’ current needs, young people should also show commitment for self-development and make themselves open to the various opportunities made available to them. A good place to start is to fashion an education curriculum that will enable youths offer solutions to challenges facing their immediate environmental and to harness the productivity potential in the informal sector.

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