In their latest publication, the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) focuses on Africa’s youth and their vital function for the future of the continent. Africa has the highest number of people under the age of 25, with around 600 million youth in 2017 accounting for almost half of the continent’s population.
Young people represent potential consumers, producers and innovators and can thus contribute to regional economic growth. The risks of conflict, poverty and instability however push more and more youth towards emigration. The report states that investments in health and education systems must dramatically improve in order to make young people’s opportunities in their own countries attractive. Gender inequality and the lack of jobs further hinder sustainable development and a prosperous future for Africa’s youth.
Co-Chairman Ban Ki-moon emphasizes the urgent need to include and empower youth all over the world. “We cannot afford to waste their talents” he claims and points to the fact that in no time in history have there ever been more young people than at this moment.
Investing in human capital should be made a priority if the continent wants to cope with rising demographics. Africa’s youth is energetic and ambitious and more connected than ever before. They have plans but need political will and new social infrastructures in order to fully contribute to economic growth and live happy, sustainable and determined lives.