Africa is a youthful population, statistics show that the population of youth and children in Africa is rising. African youth are also among the most disadvantaged in the world. This ranges from economic refugees in Europe all in a bid to try and survive, to communities ravaged by the negative impacts of HIV and Aids to countries getting destroyed by election related conflicts.
Conflict which is increasing in the continent also affects young people more than any other age bracket.
Additionally, in sub-Saharan Africa, 3 in 5 of the total unemployed are youth (ILO 2006) and on average 72 percent of the youth population live with less than US$2 a day. Africa is also home to between seven to eight million illegal immigrants in the European Union. The contradiction that is glaring is also that the continent has the highest deposit of natural resources, then why are African youth suffering?
At the launching of his party at the Independence Stadium last Saturday, President Adama Barrow talked at length about his government’s plans for Gambian youths. We hope the statements are not just another political rhetoric from a politician looking for re-election in an election year.
It is time we move beyond the rhetoric and make the issue of youths a priority since they constitute more than half of the population.