What are the current challenges for young people in Africa that CAFOR needs to address urgently?
The Coalition on Media and Education for Development Africa Forum (CAFOR) sees Education as a challenge that links closely with the youth bulge. In Northern and Southern Africa there has been ‘an obvious and growing quantitative overproduction of higher education graduates compared to what the labour market can absorb’ according to the African Development Bank. Governments have increased the number of higher education providers but not focused on the educational curricula and the needs and realities of the productive sectors of the economy. Encouragement of self-employment and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through business development training and skills upgrading could help, but also access to microfinance services and empowerment programmes for women. African governments must ensure that young people engage in technology and innovation, as advances in technology, particularly ICT, have resulted in global interconnectedness and increased opportunities for self-actualisation. If harnessed correctly, technology and innovation, especially in agriculture, can offer opportunities for dealing with the challenge of youth unemployment, while a growing economy provides fertile ground for innovation and risk-taking by Governments and citizens.
Africa is currently pursuing a transformation agenda under the recognition of the African Union’s vision of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena”. It is, therefore, evident that success will be elusive unless we purposefully harness the potential of the continent’s young people. As African leaders give credence to this view, they have identified youth development and science, technology and innovation as the main pillars of Agenda 2063.