The challenge of unemployment in Africa has over the years attracted the attention of the African community as it poses a major threat to security, development and transformation of the continent.
African youth have the potential to be a great impetus for Africa’s development, provided that appropriate investments in health and human capital are made. However, if youth issues are not addressed, and if high rates of youth unemployment and under-employment persist, Africa’s development could be negatively affected.
Noting the adverse effect of youth unemployment on the development of the continent, youths from across 31 African Countries and Diaspora, Australia and Germany at the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Centre, Accra, Ghana to profer ways forward in addressing issues related to youth employment and youth development – through the platform of the African Youth and Governance Conference.
Joining other delegates in deliberation, the Executive Director of All for Development Foundation (ADM Foundation), the 19 year old Aanu Damola Morenikeji from Nigeria called for the creation of a development enabling environment which will encourage innovative thinking and implementation of positive initiatives towards ensuring transformation.
Other delegates from Nigeria include Biodun Awosusi (CEO, Penpreneur), Olusola Amusan, Oguntoyinbo Stephen, Bola Adams, Damilare Adeyemi among other development advocates.
After intensive brainstorming sessions, the following were recommended;
WE, the youth of Africa gathered once again in Accra for the 4th African Youth and Governance (AYG) Conference anchored on the theme “Partnerships for Job Creation: A Wheel for Transformational Governance” were faced, a couple of weeks earlier, with an exceptional challenge of whether or not to hold the continental Conference in the wake of the sudden death of the President of Republic of Ghana, H.E. John Evans Atta Mills and the fact that the date for the Conference coincided with the dates of the funeral,
Recalling events in which the then Vice President and now President John Dramani -Mahama assured the AYG-Conference 2009 delegates of Government of Ghana’s commitment to finalizing the National Youth Policy and the fulfillment of this promise at the climax of AYG-Conference 2010 with the launch of the National Youth Policy, the demonstrated commitment to youth development in Ghana by ratifying the African Youth Charter three months after committing to this course in response to AYG-Conference 2010 call, and the sustained interest in the AYG-Conference initiative,
APRECIATING the support of the Government of Ghana to the AYG-Conference initiative since its inception in 2009 by creating the enabling environment and facilitating travel arrangements of international delegates including security services,
Having resolved after extensive consultations that it was appropriate and even an honorable duty to hold the conference on its initial dates of 8-10 August as it enshrines and emulates the values that were dear to the departed leader, H.E. John Evans Atta Mills,
Recognizing the efforts of African Governments in placing the youth agenda at the fore through the declaration of the Decade of Youth Development in Africa and the focus on youth development at the17th African Union Summit held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea with a call on African governments “to advance the youth agenda and adopt policies and mechanisms towards the creation of safe, decent and competitive employment opportunities by accelerating the implementation of the Youth Decade Plan of Action(2009-2018) and the Ouagadougou 2004 Plan of Action on Employment Promotion and Poverty Alleviation”
REITERATING that Africa’s greatest resource is its youthful population and that by harnessing the opportunities that the continent’s youth bulge presents, Africans can surmount the challenges that lie ahead,
REACKNOWLEDGING with great delight, the drive among African youth towards self-empowerment and innovation, as well as their tireless, optimistic, innovative and constructive contributions to the advancement of African nations,
GUIDED by the Constitutive Act of the African Union, the African Youth Charter and the Youth Decade Plan of Action (2009 – 2018),
And following two days of deliberations and active participation of youth from 31 African Countries, African Diaspora and participants from Australia and Germany, from 8thto 9thAugust 2012at the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre, Accra, and a third day of full participation in the final funeral ceremony of the late President of Republic of Ghana, HE John Evans Atta Mills on 10th August 2012,
- That despite some efforts by African governments to address youth unemployment and youth development issues, they remain overwhelmed by the magnitude of the challenge.
- That for example, only 5% of the eligible University enrollment age are in University, in spite of the efforts in promoting higher education.
- The problem of youth unemployment is much bigger when we consider the larger African population that has not received any formal education or employable skills.
- This challenge is accentuated by the increasing global competitiveness among the world’s knowledge based societies and the mis-match of Africa’s educational systems with labour market trends.
- That most African youth employment models are limited in terms of beneficiaries they can accommodate, they also tend to be short-term, not sustainable, not integrated into the national development plans, reproduce gender-inequalities and do not embrace the already socially marginalized groups such as Persons with Disability (PWDs) and rural youth.
- African governments fail to build on existing models of youth employment programs but consistently seek to reinvent the wheel for political exigency.
- Inadequate collaboration between African governments in sharing best practices of youth employment programs and models.
- That Public-Private Partnership models are not sufficiently synchronized with youth entrepreneurship programs.
- That youth participation and representation in the design of employment models are minimal.
- The lack of country-based, national agendas that clearly outline long-term, properly-funded and well-coordinated programs dedicated to the advancement of Africa’s youth.
- The increasing cost of micro-financing and the absence of a financial institutional structure that finances youth entrepreneurship and caters for youth developmental needs.
- The urgency of African youth deciding to learn from models and policy dialogues in economically advanced countries mindful of the need to adapt these models to the respective national context.
- That, African governments are not able to solely address youth unemployment challenges.
- The lack of global corporate responsibility to African youth development.
- Poor dissemination and lack of sensitization of continental and national youth-focused policy documents and programs among the youth.
- Young people are not well informed on their reproductive health and fail to make good decisions due in part to the absence of adequate resource centres.
- The failure of African youth to be involved in constructive engagements with policy makers.
THEREFORE CALL ON:
- To ensure the active involvement of young people in decision making and policy development process both at the national, sub-regional and continental levels;
- To develop and promote, with youth input, eGovernment platforms to elicit youth input into policy formulation and feedback on duty bearers;
- To create the enabling environment to promote partnerships for job creations;
- To develop models to attract youth to agribusiness and increasingly invest in the agriculture sector which has the potential of employing millions of youth;
- To set up a national youth development fund to be seeded with a 1% allocation of GDP;
- To upgrade national educational infrastructure to match labour market requirements;
- To promote decentralization of local governance to facilitate Partnerships at local levels and for easier access to local employment opportunities;
- Entrepreneurship education must be embedded in educational systems at all levels;
- To broaden the scope of exchanges and learning of workable models that must be adapted to the national developmental need and culture;
- To develop a holistic educational system wherein essential guidance and career counseling are provided;
- To intensify its partnership with the private sector and development partners in providing incubators to prepare African youth for the job market, and particularly to assist young entrepreneurs in establishing their businesses at regional, national and sub-national levels;
- To integrate issues on sexuality and rights into the school curricula at all levels of educational systems to support young people in making informed decisions;
- To create adequate infrastructure to accommodate Adolescence Sexual Reproductive Health Centres to meet current needs and the diversity of young people including minority groups, in school and out of school.
Young People in Africa
- To be proactive through continuous learning and knowledge seeking in building their capacities for meaningful representation and engagement at national, sub-regional and continental levels;
- To partner and strategically network with peers to facilitate information and experience sharing as well as unleash the national and regional potential for formation of joint-venture and corporate partnership;
- Youth should use existing structures such as the AYG-Conference Initiative to network;
- Embrace volunteerism as a cost-effective means to develop skills and gain experience;
- To bundle resources through partnerships and cooperatives as a means to garner seed-money and improve eligibility for credit from financial institutions;
Private Sector and Civil Society Stakeholders
- To collaborate with education institutions in the skill-oriented programming;
- To collaborate with African governments and youth entrepreneurs in the formation of Partnerships;
- To mentor young entrepreneurs and businesses;
All Development Partners
- Support the setting up of the African Youth Development Bank;
- Promote sustainable partnerships, networking and integration of youth in national development efforts;
- Expand and deepen direct engagement with Africa’s youth as partners in designing solutions to development challenges;
- To create the platform for youth engagement between African youth and youth of Development Partners to promote and support Africa’s youth development efforts.
Dated 12th August, 2012