Dec 30, 2019

A 50 Year Development Trajectory For Africa; Focus On The Youths | Ayotunde Abiodun




May 2013 marked the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the formation of the Organisation of African Union/ African Union and African heads of state and government signed the 50th Anniversary Solemn Declaration . The declaration marked the re-dedication of Africa towards the attainment of the Pan African Vision of An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens, representing a dynamic force in the international arena and Agenda 2063 is the concrete manifestation of how the continent intends to achieve this vision within a 50 year period from 2013 to 2063.[1] African Leaders recognized the need to refocus and reprioritize Africa's agenda to an inclusive social and economic development, from the struggle against apartheid and the attainment of political freedom and economic development. 



Agenda 2063 integrates the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Sustainable Development Goals), which is a commitment to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development by 2030 world-wide, ensuring that no one, that is no country is left behind.[2] Agenda 2063 encapsulates not only Africa’s aspirations for the future but also identifies key flagship programmes which can boost Africa’s economic growth and development and lead to the rapid transformation of the continent.


In Agenda 2063, are laid out seven key aspirations for Africa: inclusive growth and sustainable development; good governance and respect for human rights; a strong cultural identity; people-driven development; and an Africa that is a global player and partner. Agenda 2063 has been termed a strategic framework for inclusive and sustainable development to make Africa, a dominant player in the global arena.


It is interesting to note that Agenda 2063 is to be run in a series of five ten year plans over the fifty year horizon of Agenda 2063’s time frame. The First Ten Year Implementation Plan (FTYIP) of Agenda 2063, (2013 – 2023) is the first in the series and it is currently on.


 The purpose for developing the ten year plans are to:


  • Identify priority areas, set specific targets, define strategies and policy measures required to implement the FTYIP of Agenda 2063.
  • Bring to fruition the Fast Track programmes and initiatives outlined in the Malabo Decisions of the African Union (AU) to provide the big push and breakthroughs for Africa’s economic and social transformation.
  • Provide information to all key stakeholders at the national, regional and continental levels on the expected results / outcomes for the first ten years of the plan and assign responsibilities to all stakeholders in its implementation, monitoring and evaluation
  • Outline the strategies required to ensure availability of resources and capacities together with citizen’s engagement in the implementation of the First Ten Year Plan.[3]

Agenda 2063 also identifies key activities to be undertaken in its 10 year Implementation plans which will ensure that Agenda 2063 delivers both quantitative and qualitative transformational outcomes for Africans.


Africa is expected to show improved standards of living; transformed, inclusive and sustained economies; increased levels of regional and continental integration; a population of empowered women and youth and a society in which children are cared for and protected; societies that are peaceful, demonstrate good democratic values and practice good governance principles and which preserve and enhance Africa’s cultural identity. [4]


THE ROLES OF YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE ACTUALIZATION OF AGENDA 2063

Helen Keller once said, 'It is not possible for civilization to flow backwards while there is youth in the world. Youth may be headstrong, but it will advance it allotted length.' For Africa to experience the positive transformation, she desires, the youths have a great role to play, they are very vital to championing the course of Agenda 2063.


The future success of the world rests with the continued commitment and contributions of the young people in promoting sustainability. This relates to Africa, which has the youngest and fast growing population in the world. According to UNDP Africa, “By 2055 the continent’s youth population (aged 15-24), is expected to be more double the 2015 total of 226 million.” This can offer a possible demographic dividend to reap the benefits for the continent in the next coming years.[5]


The writer would discuss the roles, the youth can play and can take up to achieve Agenda 2063 under the seven key aspirations for Africa. 


OUR ASPIRATIONS FOR THE AFRICA WE WANT

 1. A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development: Youths can help Africa become prosperous by embracing the entrepreneurship spirit. Youths should regard themselves as individuals, capable of creating wealth and reducing the rate of unemployment in Africa. Youths all over Africa should network and empower themselves. Young people should become social actors of change and progress. 


2. An integrated continent, politically united and based on the ideals of Pan-Africanism and the vision of Africa’s Renaissance: The continuous existence of an African Continent free of disunity and neo-colonialism, is up to the youths. Africa's history is full of instances of the disruption of the political order and the youths have a great role to play for Africa to be politically united.


The youths have to be more politically conscious and be engaged in the governance of their respective countries. The youths must carry out actions and show a high level of discipline to help preserve the African descent and way of life. The youths must try as much as possible to wade off the negative influence of the western culture on Africa's culture.


Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance stress the need for a collective self-reliance. African countries must support one another to develop at a collective rate. At this point, the initiative of the African Continental Free Trade Area, must be commended. The youths have to network and create an all-African alliance that would empower African people globally. The Government of every African Country must do all they can, to prevent the migration of youths out of the Continent. Also, the youths must be the major participants in economic involvement on the continent.


 3. An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law: The youths must stand up to the occasion and act as watchdogs to the Government of their respective countries. Youths are the best agents of social change. They are capable of initiating the consciousness and participation that would make respective governments accountable to its people. The youths should get involved in politics and query the unfavourable policies of the government and the acts of all public office holders. 


The youths should speak up whenever the respect for human rights is being breached. The youths should ensure that the rule of law is being adhered to; the youths should also keep a close eye on the Judiciary and ensure that Justice is served at all times.


The young can therefore contribute by organizing themselves in small groups of leadership, civil groups that counter check and fight for democracy and human rights. These small groups of leadership can participate in policy level, also rally fellow youth to participate in democratic activities such as elections and also encourage each other to run for offices that coincide with their voting ages.

 4. A peaceful and secure Africa: It is saddening to note that anywhere in the world, the youths are the major participants in crime. Time is running out for Africa to ‘silence the guns by 2020’ and end all wars – a target set by the African Union (AU) in its Agenda 2063 plan for a peaceful and secure Africa. With greater youth involvement in Africa’s peace processes, this target might be more achievable.[6] Young people have directly felt the consequences of violent conflict in Africa. The fall of president François BozizĂ© in 2013, for example, plunged the Central African Republic into conflict. This led to high unemployment, exclusion from political participation and extreme poverty, making the Central African Republic the worst country in the world to be a young person.


The youth must be included in peace processes if the guns are to be silenced in Africa by 2020, the youths should also participate in the African Union’s new Youth for Peace Africa Programme, launched in Lagos, Nigeria, on 4 September 2018. 


There are specific actions that the AU needs to take to give all African youth the chance to be peacemakers through Youth for Peace Africa. First, it needs to define the duties that the youth are expected to play in peace processes. This includes what youth are required to do at local, national and continental level. Second, the AU should encourage states to dismantle social, economic, institutional and geographic obstacles that prevent young people from playing leading roles in conflict resolution. Third, 'Youth for Peace Africa' should push for a review of peace and security policies of the AU and Regional Economic Communities to ensure they enhance the visibility and rights of young people. The African Union should also consider making 'Youth for Peace Africa' an integral pillar of the African Governance Architecture Youth Engagement Strategy.[7]


Young people make up the majority of Africa’s population. They need to be seen – not just as part of the problem or as victims of conflicts – but as a positive resource that can help the continent achieve sustainable peace. What the youths need to do is to rise up to the challenge and resolve that Africa must be a peaceful continent.


 5. An Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics: The youths have a role to play to ensure that our diversity in culture, heritage, languages and religion shall be a cause of strength and unity in Africa. If the youths can break all forms of differential barriers, Africa is on her path to great fulfilment. The youths have an important role as drivers of change.  The youths must champion the course of an inter-generational dialogue, which will ensure that Africa as a continent adapts to social and cultural change.


 6. An Africa whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children: Over years, the continent that has suffered brain-drain, the most, is Africa. This has really affected in every aspect of her existence. The youths must be actively involved in the decision making process in all aspects of development, including social, economic, political and environmental. 


The youths should empower themselves in all spheres of life.  The youths should fight against all forms of gender-based violence and discrimination (social, economic, political) against women. The youths should embark on awareness programs and ensure that all harmful social practices (especially female genital mutilation and child marriages) be ended and barriers to quality health and education for women and girls eliminated.


The youths should clamour for full gender parity, with women occupying at least 50% of elected public offices at all levels and half of managerial positions in the public and the private sectors. The youths are capable of making this happen. Also, the youths should devote themselves to innovation and entrepreneurship.


 7. Africa as a strong, united and influential global player and partner: The youths should harness their potentials and portray a good image of the continent abroad since they account for the bulk of Africans in Diaspora. The youths should undertake to continue the global struggle against all forms of exploitation, racism and discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerances; to advance international cooperation that promotes and defends Africa’s interests. The youths should speak with one voice and act collectively to promote our common interests and positions in the international arena.[8] The youths should speak with one voice on priorities and views on global issues.







CONCLUSION:

The youthful population of Africa can help to actualize the agenda 2063 if they are empowered and engaged. Empowerment of the young people regardless of sex will create a self-sustaining pool of young people that are ingenious and talented. The youth can do peer to peer mentorships, health and sex education that will help bring about healthy and well-nourished citizens.[9]


Consecutively, climate change is currently a world problem with repercussions being felt heavily on Africa. The youths around the continent should mobilize each other towards sustainable use and protection of natural resources through start-ups on conservation and initiatives that seek to leverage on renewable energy, water resource management, rehabilitating lands by planting trees and advocating towards all that through activism. The youth can voice their opinions against deforestation which is fundamentally challenging the existence of livelihoods; it increases a continent’s risk of experiencing disasters such as extreme drought and floods.  


The young people of today are the force, hope and leaders of tomorrow. The position of the young people in achieving Agenda 2063 is very vital, allowing for participation and inclusion of them in policy making in all the sectors will bring fresh perspective to handle modern problems. Our role as African youths lies in or begins with grassroots implementation.

Finally, the youth must embrace education and exposure.







[6] https://reliefweb.int/report/world/africa-s-youth-gain-recognition-peacemakers
[7] https://reliefweb.int/report/world/africa-s-youth-gain-recognition-peacemakers
[8] https://www.un.org/en/africa/osaa/pdf/au/agenda2063.pdf
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