Dissatisfaction and lack of opportunities for youth could fuel instability in Africa

Dissatisfaction and lack of opportunities for youth could fuel instability in Africa

Cover source: Pixnio

Cover source: Pixnio

Concerns have arisen in Africa in recent years over the future of the continent’s young people and the effect they may have on it in the decades to come.

At least 60 percent of the population is under 25. By 2050, 452 million people will be within that age group. With such a massive number of young individuals offering great possibilities for growth and development, many feel disenfranchised due to a lack of jobs, average economic prospects and lacking leadership.

Africa’s GDP has seen a 4.5 percent growth but this has failed to bring jobs to its youth, with many lacking the essential skills to contribute to the economy.

Political disconnects have also held considerable sway in Africa with voter turnout having dropped in recent years. Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has long held a reputation for corruption, costing the country a billion dollars each year while taking measures to extend his control.

Last year in November, people marched in the South African capital of Pretoria, calling for President Jacob Zuma to step down. This dissatisfaction is said to have reached a breaking point and with this comes the notion of a “toxic brew,” one which may drive more individuals towards militant violence and migration to Europe.

Related: Nigerian Young Professionals Forum urges a greater recognition for youth

To tap into the hopes of young people is to ensure a better future not only for individual African nations but also the entire continent. Currently, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, established for a focus on governance and leadership, is planning a forum to focus on three main issues: the appeal of violent extremism and migration, the risk of a democratic recession and the need for inclusive economic growth.

The foundation’s chair, Mo Ibrahim, said: “The decisions taken now will decide whether our continent continues to rise or falls back. More than ever, wise leadership and sound governance are key.”

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