Category: AIF Issue 46

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Forging their own paths

Is Africa ready for the future? Is the continent ready to tackle the technological disruption and challenges of a rapidly changing world? Importantly, are its young people ready to take up the mantle of change? Africa’s youth have moved from relative obscurity in political deliberations to centre stage in continental forums and conferences from Cape […]

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Act now or risk losing an entire generation

Africa’s youth employment and education trends are worrying. Over the next few years much of the continent will be affected by two trends, namely continued high levels of unemployment and continuing high fertility rates. The latter, in particular, will lead to bulging youth populations in many countries around the continent. If not addressed adequately and quickly […]

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From unexpressed anger to participation

The year was 2002 and the location a bank’s training facility in a quiet area of Nairobi. They all came from different countries but had one thing in common: every young woman and man in the room had been able to discuss their ideas concerning youth participation in governance during the previous few weeks. The medium […]

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A positive force for Africa’s future

Adolescents living with HIV in Africa should be a priority population for health – and in particular mental health – interventions. The wellbeing of today’s youth will determine not only their future, but also our continent and region’s future and our ability to reach the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Yet this future is […]

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Young politicians aiming high

Youth – people between the ages of 15 and 35, according to the definition used by the African Union’s Youth Charter – make up more than 35% of Africa’s total population. But in elected legislatures in countries such as Ghana, Uganda and Nigeria they remain under-represented. In Uganda – where five seats are reserved for […]

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Blessed or cursed?

Recent years have seen an increasing popular appeal of youth uprisings in Africa. Some believe this to be the effect of the Arab spring, giving rise to the term the “African Spring”. While dissatisfaction with socio-economic conditions has been a key motivator behind these uprisings, frustration with the current political leadership is at the centre. […]

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Ready for the youth

A recent report by the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Generation 2030 Africa 2.0 (2017), refers to the vast number of Africa’s children, or the so-called “youth bulge”, as a potential “demographic dividend” for the continent. But which of the continent’s countries are ready to take advantage of this “dividend”? And which have the […]

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Breaking the cycle of inter-generational poverty

The African continent has made great strides towards achieving its development goals and protecting children and youth over the years. International development agencies such as the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) have reported a decline in child marriages, more children and youth, including young girls, are reported to be attending school, and there is […]

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A little-known history of youth activism

In 2016, an opposition Member of Parliament in Botswana, Pius Mokgware, a former army general, warned that youth unemployment was a ticking time bomb. His greatest fear was that discontent about unemployment could lead young people to divert their energies to criminal and terrorist activities, which could leave the country vulnerable to terrorist organisations such […]

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Alternative futures

There’s nothing alluring about being called a “bulge”. Positivity rarely inheres within such framing – a bulge is most often a problem. Africa’s population statistics show that young people are the demographic, creative, labour and political majority on the continent, so why are we referred to in this manner? Why have African governments and global […]

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Dying to work

Reginalda Adhiambo’s first-born daughter, Akinyi Onyango, left their Nairobi home in 2014 after she was offered a “lucrative” job in Saudi Arabia. Her mother helped to raise the money for her passport and an air ticket. The family reckoned on Akinyi’s return to Kenya a year later; the money she would have earned would offer […]

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