The new partnership for Africa development dubbed agenda 2063 is a pledge by Africans leaders based on common vision and a shared conviction that they have the duty to eradicate poverty and place each Africa countries both individually and collectively on a path to sustainable growth and development. Through an eye Len, the Agenda is calling for the reversal of the abnormal situation by changing the relationship that underpins factors that affects its progressive development. The continent is appealing neither for the further entrenchment of dependency through aid nor for marginal concession that come with stringent conditions.
Whereas it is estimated that there are over 1.5 billion youths all over the world 62% of these numbers make up Africa’s population, it’s evident that this is a great opportunity that the continent is endowed with considering that youths are the power house of every nation and with the numbers as a great investment, ensuring youth participation in Africa becomes more important as enshrined in the African Youth Charter.
Through the collective foresight of the African Union defined as “building an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own Citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena[i], we are more than convinced that the historic opportunity presents itself for the continent to end the scourge of underdevelopment that has affected the population to drive their countries to growth..
With the availability of resources; including capital, technology, human skills, blue economy, minerals, and black gold. These are adequate to launch a war on poverty pushing away foreign aid dependency. However this calls for imaginative leadership that is committed to human development of young people as owners and drivers of this agenda. With the statistic’s standing at 62% as African youth over the estimated at 1.5 billion world youth, Many Africa government have not empowered their people to embark on development initiatives to realise their creative potential, today’s one of the great challenge is how to use the number as a projection for the future facilitated by long term policies that at the same time need to be urgently implemented with far reaching reforms in expenditure and programme implementation
The World Bank estimated in an account of 2015 that in the sub-Sahara Africa, there have been 186 million to 856 million people from 1950-2010, and going by the analysis of about 11 million people a year, this means that by 2060, the population of sub-Sahara Africa could be as large as 2.7 billion people.
While the world greatest fears is that the youth population in sub-Sahara Africa alone could hit its highest point in the world, with Nigeria population anticipated to outnumber the population of the United States by about 30 million people by 2050 creates trigger point of the bigger underlying questions on how the continent can maximize population growth to achieve sustainable economic growth and development. In the case above, there is growing fear of many more Africans countries like Ethiopia, Tanzania, DRC, Niger, Zambia, and Uganda contributing millions of people to the world along with China and India as countries that have the largest populations in the world.
An assessment is that youth population is rife in sub-Saharan Africa, making it the highest in the world and its assumed that the population does not have the training, skills and economic power to arrest the future. This massive demographic change is accompanied by complex phenomena such as intensifying urbanization, over-exploitation of natural resources, accelerating pollution, environmental degradation, the escalating population’s explosion.
Among the stakeholders who have raised their voices to carve a niche for the continent to learn and relearn from the past and face the future with resources accruing from Africa and in Africa, unfortunately the stakeholders have not yet believed in the youth generation cohort as drivers and owners of this agenda. Nevertheless, the non-recognition of young people as drivers of this agenda is a great threat to the attainment of agenda 2063 because these young women and men will have to cope with the consequences of the unsustainable use of the earth and its resources; and this situation calls for new approaches and firm commitments for a sustainable future.
The young people represent an enormous potential for change: young people yearn for educational, scientific, and cultural and communication resources, young people must be imparted with skills needed for their personal development, access to decent jobs, civic-political participation. These young people represent a potential for change if access to skills, education and technological advancement is ensured, however their involvement in the decision-making process is relatively important to sustain the agenda, where young people are not only agents for economic growth but hold the power for social transformation and progress, with peace and security as a sustainable tool
With 50% of the African population youth, this therefore clearly shows whom adverse climatic changes impacts will affect justifying the urgent need for youth capacity development to respond to climate change inclusion as key stakeholders in policy process. Just by the numbers, the potential of the youth to make a significant positive change in climate change mitigation and adaptation is undeniable.
Whereas it the right of everyone to expect development, environmental sustainability, sound resource management, freedom from poverty and dependency standing at the heart of Africa’s future, For Africa to make more progress, the GDP question needs to be put at the forefront, looking more deeply at critical indicators that captures economic activities and not considering that it disregards the value of natural resources, and ignores costs of environmental degradation. Moreover, social aspects of development, such as income inequality or unemployment rates, are not acknowledged by GDP and more importantly, economic growth, measured by GDP, has not measured social sectors that benefit the population often leading to wrong policy decisions in society.
The concern for many is if African sets the ground to measure economic development using other aspects such as the quality of services; infrastructure, roads, health and education; the level of employment and the purchasing power. Since GDP does not highlight all the aspects of economic development; and the case where industrialization is key to the agenda implementation, there is need to ensure countries maximum benefit from the available natural resources; environmental conservation, employment opportunities for locals and development.
The measurement of economic growth in a framework that is not sustainable will continue to affect development policies that are primarily aimed at achieving economic growth and economic development, through the eyes Len, African countries must make investments in the numbers with direct resources allocation to sectors that impact on economic life; and all in all qualitative economic development should be the means of measuring economic growth in continents drive to sustainable development
The Writer is a founding member of the Think-Tank.