Africa currently has a population of 1.216 billion. According to the UN, Africa has the youngest population in the world. This youth population is constantly growing as over 200 million of Africa’s population is between 15-24 years. It is believed that the size of the youth population will in fact double by 2045. This is clearly stated in the 2012 African Economic Outlook report put together by experts from the African Development Bank, the UN Development Programme, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the industrialized countries’ Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
A large population could actually mean a brighter and better future for Africa. The current statistics are however not so encouraging. The African Economic Outlook has stated that more than 70% of African youths live below $2 daily. A major reason for this is unemployment among other vices facing the African youth. According to the World bank, over 60% of African youths are unemployed.
Irrespective of the discouraging statistics, Africa’s ever growing young population is expected to cause a tremendous change in the working population across the world. It has been projected that by 2050, one in every four persons working around the world would be an African. Africa would have a very young and affordable labour force such that most multinationals would move their businesses to Africa. This would of course drastically transform Africa’s economy. It is important to note however that this mouth-watering benefits would only become reality if Africa’s human capital is effectively utilized and directed to the appropriate industries.
Africans are always quick to blame the government for all the wrong things in Africa. The government of course has a role to play in the various issues in Africa. We should however never forget that the future of Africa lies in our hands. Despite the innumerable odds against the African youth, they have a greater role to play. Africa’s youth population is an untapped potential capable of causing great change to the entire continent.
Entrepreneurship, innovation and invention are three major areas that youths in Africa need to pay close attention to. Fortunately, a lot of innovations have begun to emerge and would still emerge. African youths need to double their efforts and increase their capacity to innovate.
The United Nations has chosen today July 11th as the world population day to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues across the world. As governments and other parastatals across Africa discuss various ways to control population in Africa, we choose to remind ourselves of the fact that our population has a lot of young people capable of changing their world and leaving their foot prints across Africa. We are confident that African youths would bring us the future we have always hoped for.