International Youth Day
The International Youth Day celebration would not have come at any more critical time than a moment as this after the African continent has renewed its commitment on the new course in transforming Africa into a global powerhouse of the future with the African Agenda 2063 blueprint and master plan. Such a laudable Goal cannot be achieved not to mention sustaining if the African youths are not fully integrated into the process.
According to the United Nations statistics, the Africa youth population age 15-24 was 226 million in 2015. This is about 20% of the African population. If we include all people below 35, then the youth makes almost 75% of the African population. This goes without many words to tell us that it’s impossible to build Africa without building the youths.
A day like this avail us an opportunity to sit and review the youth engagement in building Africa. Do they have the right skills? Are the youths exposed to the right opportunities and information?
All over the world, the youths have always been at the forefront of innovation and global impact and I believe Africa is up for a transformation if we can engage the youth meaningfully.
We should also note that our failure to gainfully engage our youth will only mean we are up for troubles. This is because the youths are the centre for innovation and societal development, so also is the youth at the core of crime and societal nuisance. The youth are the major influencers of the good, the bad and the ugly.
It might also interest you to know that Africa has the largest concentration of young people in the world. 30% of the world youth population is in Africa and this population is still predicted to increase to 42% by 2030. In other words, Africa will be having 42% of the worlds most innovative population by 2030 if we can provide with the right education and exposure. Otherwise, we will have in our hands the world most destructive population if we leave the youths unattended to.
So I will love to demand more youth integration into building this Africa we want from our elders. A society that neglects its young population is one that is deemed for extinction. However, my biggest abolishment will still be thrown to the youths. We are the future of tomorrow only if we procrastinate because the future is here. You need to take responsibility for your growth and prepare yourself for leadership. You can’t give what you don’t have.
The role of education cannot be overemphasized. Every African youth should give in to education and skill horning because. Education is still the most powerful weapon you can use to change a nation. A time will come when you will be called upon, the question you should be asking is; “will I be ready?”.
Happy International Youth day
Lawal Oluwaseun Richard