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25.11.2021 Feature Article

Key Note Address by Dr. Fred Awaah on the Sensitization and Advocacy Workshop on Making Africa's Population an Asset -Africa Progress Group

Key Note Address by Dr. Fred Awaah on the Sensitization and Advocacy Workshop on Making Africa's Population an Asset -Africa Progress Group
25.11.2021 LISTEN

Introduction
His Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo (formers President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria), Her Excellency Professor Sarah Anyang Agbor (Honourable Commissioner for Education, Science Technology and Innovation of the Africa Union Commission), chiefs, academics, students, members of the press, ladies and gentlemen.

Please accept warm felicitations from the Diaspora Academic Network for Africa, where I currently serve as the 2nd Vice President for the African region. It is a delight to present this address at the workshops on sensitisation and advocacy on making Africa's population an asset; promoting population-related human rights activities in Africa. The workshop, which began yesterday, is attended by very senior representatives of the Africa Union Commission, the Institute of African Culture and International Understanding, the Centre for Human Security, senior academic and administrative officers in Africa's university system, and students. It does appear that today's audience may be the right target to speak to on this very important issue of the youth and their roles towards making Africa's population an asset.

The African Union, African presidents, academics and other stakeholders have been saddled with the challenge of harnessing the bulging youthful population in Africa to the benefit of the continent. This challenge comes at the back of continual narrations of African youth being used for disruptive political activities, engagement in drugs, hooliganism, cultism, amongst others. While these stakeholders have implemented some pragmatic solutions to harness the potentials of the youth towards making them assets within the African region, this platform promises to proffer further pragmatic solutions that will harness the potentials of Africa's youth towards making the continent's population an asset.

Africa is one of the most populous continents in the world. Based on the latest United Nations estimates, the Worldometers puts the continent's population at 1,384,224,554 as of Friday, November 12, 2021. Africa has the youngest population globally, with more than 400 million young people aged 15 to 35 years (Africa Union). This bulging population, if harnessed, will ensure the youth play positive roles in making Africa's population an asset. While the youth have diverse roles in making Africa's population an asset, today's discussion should be seen within the ambits of their specific roles of helping actualise the aspirations of the Africa Union's Agenda 2063, which represents the collective conscience and aspirations of the people of the continent.

Youth Roles To Making Africa's Population An Asset; Lenses From The 7 Aspirations Of The Africa Union's Agenda 2063

As preluded in the introduction, structured youth role towards making Africa's population an asset can not deviate from the aspirations of the African Unions Agenda 2063. A reflective reminder of these aspirations is necessary to place today's discussions in perspective. The union intends to achieve;

  • Prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development
  • An integrated continent politically united and based on the ideas of Pan Africanism and the vision of Africa's renaissance
  • An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law
  • A peaceful and secured Africa
  • An Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics
  • An Africa whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children
  • Africa as a strong, united, resilient and influential global player and partner

Interventions By The Youth That Can Help Make Africa's; Population An Asset

In line with these aspirations, the youth have specific roles toward the attainment of these individual objectives. For instance, to achieve the first aspiration of Prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development, the youth of Africa would need a departure from employee mindsets to entrepreneurial mindsets. In Africa, the government is the largest employer, burdening successive governments' with unemployment issues and the associated issues. A way to mitigate this towards making Africa's population an asset would be a paradigm shift from waiting for jobs to creating jobs. To achieve this, African youth should consider engaging in Modern agriculture for increased proactivity and production, innovation and creativity to add value to the existing entrepreneurial activities

Further, the roles of the youth in making Africa's population an asset cannot be devoid of their contributions to ensuring an integrated continent politically united and based on the ideas of pan Africanism and the vision of Africa's renaissance. In achieving this, African youth are entreated to embrace a cross-cultural understanding of the continent to ensure uniformity of thoughts. Such conferences and summits as the Africa Students and Youth Summit, Africa Youth Connect, and others are platforms that can ensure interactions and orientations of cross cultures leading to the achievement of an integrated Africa.

Again, the African youth has a role towards creating an Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice, and law. This will lead to making the Africa's population an asset. To achieve this, the youth must understand the undergirding principles of democracy. This will entail not allowing themselves to be used by politicians for destructive purposes. It will also need the youth to desist from abusing every level of political power handed to them electorally or by appointment.

Another aspiration which the youth have a responsibility towards is to ensure a peaceful and secured Africa. This role can be achieved through creating governance, accountability and transparency think tanks to monitor and proffer alternative solutions that will minimise the triggering of wars, conflicts and diseases. The youth's involvement in governance and accountability will make them responsible for ensuring the peace and security of the continent.

Also, the youh in their bid to make the continents population an assett will need to help in Developing the spirit of Pan Africanism and a strong sense of cultural identity based on a common heritage, shared values and ethics. This will require the youth to collaborate on all issues that bother the continent. These collaborations are necessary for creating and promoting Africa's cultural identity to the rest of the world. Here again, participating in pan African youth and students events such as the Africa Students and Youth Summit holds the key to the spirit of pan Africanism.

In developing an Africa whose development is people-driven, reliant on the potential of African people, especially women and children, the youth should strive to equip themselves and actively partake in the decision-making process and leadership. This will enable them to effect changes in essential social aspects of the continent, including eliminating all forms of discrimination—advocacy for human rights and empowerment of the youth and creating opportunities for their self-realisations.

A call to collective action
The issues of the youth harnessing the potentials of the African population towards making the continent's population an asset can only be achieved through collective action. While the youth have roles to play, other stakeholders have responsibilities towards collaborating with the youth to achieve the roles needed to make Africa's population an asset. In this light, we call on other stratas of the contitnets population such as women, politicians, civil society organisations, and others to collaborate with the youth and youth organisations towards making the continent's population useful.

At the Diaspora Academic Network for Africa, we welcome every form of collaboration with every stratum of Africa's population towards harnessing diasporan resources to ensure the continents' population becomes an asset and not a liability.

Thank you.
Introduction
His Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo (formers President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria), Her Excellency Professor Sarah Anyang Agbor (Honourable Commissioner for Education, Science Technology and Innovation of the Africa Union Commission), chiefs, academics, students, members of the press, ladies and gentlemen.

Please accept warm felicitations from the Diaspora Academic Network for Africa, where I currently serve as the 2nd Vice President for the African region. It is a delight to present this address at the workshops on sensitisation and advocacy on making Africa's population an asset; promoting population-related human rights activities in Africa. The workshop, which began yesterday, is attended by very senior representatives of the Africa Union Commission, the Institute of African Culture and International Understanding, the Centre for Human Security, senior academic and administrative officers in Africa's university system, and students. It does appear that today's audience may be the right target to speak to on this very important issue of the youth and their roles towards making Africa's population an asset.

The African Union, African presidents, academics and other stakeholders have been saddled with the challenge of harnessing the bulging youthful population in Africa to the benefit of the continent. This challenge comes at the back of continual narrations of African youth being used for disruptive political activities, engagement in drugs, hooliganism, cultism, amongst others. While these stakeholders have implemented some pragmatic solutions to harness the potentials of the youth towards making them assets within the African region, this platform promises to proffer further pragmatic solutions that will harness the potentials of Africa's youth towards making the continent's population an asset.

Africa is one of the most populous continents in the world. Based on the latest United Nations estimates, the Worldometers puts the continent's population at 1,384,224,554 as of Friday, November 12, 2021. Africa has the youngest population globally, with more than 400 million young people aged 15 to 35 years (Africa Union). This bulging population, if harnessed, will ensure the youth play positive roles in making Africa's population an asset. While the youth have diverse roles in making Africa's population an asset, today's discussion should be seen within the ambits of their specific roles of helping actualise the aspirations of the Africa Union's Agenda 2063, which represents the collective conscience and aspirations of the people of the continent.

Youth Roles To Making Africa's Population An Asset; Lenses From The 7 Aspirations Of The Africa Union's Agenda 2063

As preluded in the introduction, structured youth role towards making Africa's population an asset can not deviate from the aspirations of the African Unions Agenda 2063. A reflective reminder of these aspirations is necessary to place today's discussions in perspective. The union intends to achieve;

  • Prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development
  • An integrated continent politically united and based on the ideas of Pan Africanism and the vision of Africa's renaissance
  • An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law
  • A peaceful and secured Africa
  • An Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics
  • An Africa whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children
  • Africa as a strong, united, resilient and influential global player and partner

Interventions By The Youth That Can Help Make Africa's; Population An Asset

In line with these aspirations, the youth have specific roles toward the attainment of these individual objectives. For instance, to achieve the first aspiration of Prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development, the youth of Africa would need a departure from employee mindsets to entrepreneurial mindsets. In Africa, the government is the largest employer, burdening successive governments' with unemployment issues and the associated issues. A way to mitigate this towards making Africa's population an asset would be a paradigm shift from waiting for jobs to creating jobs. To achieve this, African youth should consider engaging in Modern agriculture for increased proactivity and production, innovation and creativity to add value to the existing entrepreneurial activities

Further, the roles of the youth in making Africa's population an asset cannot be devoid of their contributions to ensuring an integrated continent politically united and based on the ideas of pan Africanism and the vision of Africa's renaissance. In achieving this, African youth are entreated to embrace a cross-cultural understanding of the continent to ensure uniformity of thoughts. Such conferences and summits as the Africa Students and Youth Summit, Africa Youth Connect, and others are platforms that can ensure interactions and orientations of cross cultures leading to the achievement of an integrated Africa.

Again, the African youth has a role towards creating an Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice, and law. This will lead to making the Africa's population an asset. To achieve this, the youth must understand the undergirding principles of democracy. This will entail not allowing themselves to be used by politicians for destructive purposes. It will also need the youth to desist from abusing every level of political power handed to them electorally or by appointment.

Another aspiration which the youth have a responsibility towards is to ensure a peaceful and secured Africa. This role can be achieved through creating governance, accountability and transparency think tanks to monitor and proffer alternative solutions that will minimise the triggering of wars, conflicts and diseases. The youth's involvement in governance and accountability will make them responsible for ensuring the peace and security of the continent.

Also, the youh in their bid to make the continents population an assett will need to help in Developing the spirit of Pan Africanism and a strong sense of cultural identity based on a common heritage, shared values and ethics. This will require the youth to collaborate on all issues that bother the continent. These collaborations are necessary for creating and promoting Africa's cultural identity to the rest of the world. Here again, participating in pan African youth and students events such as the Africa Students and Youth Summit holds the key to the spirit of pan Africanism.

In developing an Africa whose development is people-driven, reliant on the potential of African people, especially women and children, the youth should strive to equip themselves and actively partake in the decision-making process and leadership. This will enable them to effect changes in essential social aspects of the continent, including eliminating all forms of discrimination—advocacy for human rights and empowerment of the youth and creating opportunities for their self-realisations.

A call to collective action
The issues of the youth harnessing the potentials of the African population towards making the continent's population an asset can only be achieved through collective action. While the youth have roles to play, other stakeholders have responsibilities towards collaborating with the youth to achieve the roles needed to make Africa's population an asset. In this light, we call on other stratas of the contitnets population such as women, politicians, civil society organisations, and others to collaborate with the youth and youth organisations towards making the continent's population useful.

At the Diaspora Academic Network for Africa, we welcome every form of collaboration with every stratum of Africa's population towards harnessing diasporan resources to ensure the continents' population becomes an asset and not a liability.

Thank you.

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