In the heart of Africa’s diverse landscapes and vibrant cultures, a growing storm of transformation and disillusionment brews. The continent’s youth, brimming with potential, find themselves ensnared in a web of despair where promises of a promising future have withered away. This disheartening scenario has been shaped by rising unemployment, underdevelopment, relentless resource exploitation, Western interference, geopolitical complexities, and a surge in coup d’etats. Today, we delve into these multifaceted challenges, exploring personal stories, potential solutions, acknowledging counterarguments, and shedding light on initiatives that offer hope.
The abyss of unemployment and underdevelopment
Amidst Africa’s diverse landscapes and vibrant cultures, a growing number of it’s youths find themselves trapped in a vicious circle of unemployment and underdevelopment. The once alluring promise of a brighter future had withered away, leaving behind a disillusioned generation grappling with feelings of hopelessness.
Unemployment rates soar, leaving millions without meaningful worl or the chance to hone their skills. This unemployment epidemic casts a pall over aspirations, as the promise of economic mobility fades into obscurity.
The shadow of underdevelopment looms large, depriving these youths of access to quality education and basic amenities. The dream of a brighter future feels distant when the fundamental building blocks of healthcare, clean drinking water, and reliable electricity remains elusive. The absence of these basic amenities highlights a glaring failure on the part of the leaders to prioritise the welfare of their people, particularly the youths who hold the key to the continents future.
Perilous journeys in search of hope
Amidst this turmoil, a distressing trend emerges. African youths, disenchanted by their leaders’ perceived failures, embark on pelirious journeys in search of greener pastures. They risk their lives on treacherous routes, facing human trafficking, exploitation, and the uncertainty of life in foreign lands. These journeys represent a desperate quest for hope, a heartbreaking testament to the belief that opportunities lie beyond their own borders. The United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Refugees recently said, “no fewer than 2, 500 migrants died or went missing while trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe in 2023 in search for greener pastures.” The Commission in a press statement issued by the Director of UNHR, New York Office, Ruven Menikdiwela said the number marked a large increase over the 1,600 dead or missing migrants in the same period in 2022.
Continuous Interference of western countries
Adding a layer of complexity to these domestic challenges is the continuous interference of Western countries in African politics. Historical legacies of colonisation have left enduring scars, and contemporary interventions often raised concerns of neo-colonialism. The influence of foreign powers in shaping political decisions can foster resentment among the youth, who are acutely aware of the exploitation of their continent’s resources for the benefit of outsiders.
Relentless resource exploitation
The relentless exploitation of Africa’s abundant natural resources exacerbates the growing disillusionment. While the continent is reach in minerals, oil, and other valuable commodities, the benefits of these resources often do not trickle down to the local population. Instead, they are siphoned away by foreign corporations, leaving the youth to witness the plundering of their heritage without reaping it’s rewards.
Geopolitical complexity and its impact
Amidst these domestic challenges, the influence of geopolitics adds another layer of complexity. Africa often finds itself at the crossroads of global rivalries, with foreign powers vying for influence and control. This external interference can destabilise nations, perpetuate conflicts, and divert attention and resources away from addressing internal issues.
Rise in coup: a disturbing omen:
The resent surge in coup d’etat incidents across the African continent serves as a glaring warning of what this volatile situation can lead to. These upheavals are not isolated events but symptoms of a larger problem-the discontent between leaders and the governed, especially the disillusioned youths. While coups are never a desirable solution, they reflect a deep-seated frustration with unresponsive leadership and external interference.
Quotes from renown leaders:
As Nelson Mandela, a global icon and advocate for youth empowerment, wisely stated, “nurturing and empowering the youth is the most powerful way to shape a nation’s destiny. Our youth are our greatest treasure, they are our future.”
HE Dr Arikana Chihombori-Quao emphasizes, “African natural resources are a treasure trove that should serve our continent. It’s time to reclaim and redirect these resources towards African development.”
Professor Lumumba aptly puts it, “The youths of Africa are not just the future; they are the present. It’s our collective responsibility to provide them with the opportunities and resources they deserve.”
Kwame Nkuruma eloquently said, “The forces that unite us are intrinsic and greater than the superimposed influence that keep us apart”. He caps it saying, “Africa is a paradox which illustrates and highlights neo-colonialism. Her earth is reach, yet the products that come from above and below the soil continues to enrich not Africans predominantly but groups and individuals who operate to Africa’s impoverishment.”
Walter Anthony Rodny; An Activist from Guyana says, “… An overall view of ancient African civilisation and ancient African cultures is required to expunge the Myst about the African past, which lingers in the minds of black people everywhere. This is the main function of African history in our hemisphere.”
Personal stories-voices from the ground:
Isatou and Lamin Kanteh natives of URR, both graduates from grade 12 said, it seems we’re living in a different Gambia, life in The Gambia has not treated us well, we’re from poor parents who struggle hard to educate us but after graduation, it was difficult for us,so we hard to brave the Mediterranean in pursuit for a better life for our parents and our future children.
Alagie Jinkang a Gambian migrant resident in Italy says, “I think it takes a lot of efforts, luck, bravery, courage, and a lot of sacrifice to make it through the Mediterranean, through the Sahara desert to Europe. It depends on what one is running from or what one is looking for in Europe. Many people are leaving Africa because they believe they will not make it in Africa because of extreme poverty that blurs their opportunities.”
Ismaili, “Most of us our parents sell their property to make us travel, because of what our senior brothers who traveled before come home, to sell that everything is nice in Europe, that if you want a better life at the age of 18-35 is to get to Europe, so they do everything for us to travel.”
Potential solutions and success stories:
While the challenges may seem insurmountable, there’s hope. African governments can and must prioritize investment in education, vocational training, and entrepreneurship programs to address youths unemployment. Additionally, policies that encourage foreign corporations to reinvest the local communities can promote equitable resource distribution.
Initiatives such as the South African’s Youths Empowerment Services (YES) and The Gambia’s Youths Empowerment Program (YEP) have shown promise by partnering with the private sector to create jobs opportunities for the youths. Such similar models can be adopted and strengthened across the continent.
Rwanda’s economic transformation and focus on youths empowerment serves as a shining example. The country has invested heavily in education and technology, leading to jobs creation and economics growth.
While some argue that Western interference con bring economic benefits and stability, critics contend that it often undermines national sovereignty. Similarly, debates persist about the role of foreign corporations in the resource exploitation, with some asserting that they bring much-needed infrastructure and jobs, while others decry exploitation and environmental degradation.
In conclusion, the African continent stands at a crossroads, where rising youth frustration intersects with unemployment, underdevelopment, Western interference, resource exploitation, geopolitical complexities and a surge in coup d’etat incidents. The recent surge coup d’etat incidents is a dire warning of the potential consequences. This article’s aim is not only to illuminate these issues but to inspire change. By adopting a comprehensive approach rooted in good governance, equitable resource management and youth empowerment, Africa can steer a way from catastrophe, towards a future where the youths thrive, its resources benefits its people , and its geopolitics promote stability rather than discord.