There are more young people in Africa than anywhere else in the world, yet they are largely ignored by the continents leaders. Young people are now doing it for themselves.
Africa rising, or so the saying goes. But there is a vast contradiction between the “Africa rising” narrative, about economic and corporate success, and the everyday reality of unemployment, poverty and inequality facing many young Africans. This is bad news for the future of a continent with the youngest population on the planet.
Youth aged between 15 and 24 make-up roughly 60% of the continent’s unemployed, while 72% of African youth live in extreme poverty on less than US$2 per day.
When it comes to the future of the continent and humanity as a whole, young people are often left out of the conversation. But this is starting to change, because African youth are going after the future they want. They are young, fearless and determined. They are not seeking permission from anyone or any institution. They are diagnosing the problem and coming-up with the solutions.
Africa’s young people are calling on multinational corporations and African leaders to stop auctioning off their future in the name of impressive economic growth. #AfricaNot4Sale
Poverty, inequality and unemployment are on the rise, and this is bad news for the future of a continent with the youngest population on the planet.
“A new wind is blowing in Africa, symbolized by the youth in their quest for democracy, good governance, ethics and justice.
Our generation will not fail because we are ready for the fight. We are awake and we keep standing.”
- Youth activist, Senegal
Kadir van Lohuizen/NOOR
The Johannesburg stock exchange is nothing like the familiar Wall Street film scenes, where frantic traders shout to secure urgent deals. It is an almost serene space, where the only evidence of million-dollar dealings is a screen displaying cryptic charts and figures.
It was in this cool heart of African capital that energetic and vocal young African activists representing women’s rights groups, LGBTI and disability organizations came together to launch our AfricaNot4Sale campaign in April.
The usually solemn market opening became a flurry of media activity and Amnesty-branded balloons. And after the launch of the day’s trading - marked in by the blowing of a kudu horn rather than the ringing of a bell - it was down to business.
Throughout the day, the stock exchange’s massive screens displayed our campaign message: that Africa’s resources and future are not for sale to the highest bidder.
Young people across the continent - regardless of age, race, religion or class - continuously demonstrate that rather than remaining victims of circumstances beyond their control, they are indeed active agents of change capable of changing their countries’ political trajectories.
The next step was for Amnesty to voice the activists’ concerns at the World Economic Forum in South Africa (3-5 June).
Together, we are pushing for human rights and youth development to define Africa’s future.
Support the campaign @AmnestySARO.
Youth activist, Nigeria
of the continent’s unemployed are between the ages of 15 and 24
of the continent’s youth live on less than US$2 a day
out of the top 10 fastest growing world economies are in Africa