Young Africans believe the continent’s future will be determined by its ability to knock out corruption and unemployment, a new study reveals.
The ‘African Youth Survey 2020’ indicates that the reduction of government corruption and the creation of new jobs are the most important drives to move the continent forward.
The survey, conducted by the PSB Research, a US-based international polling firm, based on 4,200 in-depth interviews with young people aged 18-24 from 14 sub-Saharan countries.
Its findings alter the outdated narrative and debunk global stereotypes of a hopeless continent while painting a future of “Afro-capability.”
In the past five years, says the report, sociopolitical instability has been driving narratives across the continent, with 24 per cent of respondents reporting that deaths from infectious diseases had the biggest impact on the continent over the last five years. Terrorism and civil war together captured a further 26 per cent of the sample.
In the next five years, however, 50 per cent of young people believe that the most important focus should be on reducing corruption (26%) and creating well-paying jobs (24%).
Second in the pack to move Africa are peace and stability at 17 per cent, access to basic services at 16 per cent and modernized education at 15 per cent.
When asked which issues African youth are most concerned about today, two-in-five reported being most concerned with either unemployment at 26 per cent or government corruption at 14 per cent.
Funded by the Ichikowitz Family Foundation, the survey is the most comprehensive overview of youth perspectives in Africa to date. While resetting global narrative on Africa with a new picture of Afro-optimism, the research is described as “a loud wake-up call to all the Afro-sceptics.”
Africa’s median age is 19.4, according to the UN, more than 10 years younger than any other continent. The inaugural survey captured the feelings and attitudes of a population where over 70 per cent are aged below 30.
“We have found a youth that refuses to shy away from the very real challenges of Africa, that is honest about what needs to be done and what their role has to be to achieve this – and they are overwhelmingly keen to make that difference," Ichikowitz Family Foundation Chairman, Ivor Ichikowitz said.
The survey reveals young people who are self-starters, pan-African, digital and media-savvy, tolerant but mindful of the challenges that could blight their 'African Century', such as corruption, the lack of new jobs and limited start-up capital among other restraints.
Dr Nick Westcott, Director of the Royal African Society sees the report as a “warning for African governments” to provide the youth with the jobs that are so in demand.
“What this means though is not necessarily setting up industries and grabbing foreign investment, but helping young people to build their own enterprises, building up from the informal sector to become businessmen and businesswomen in their own right. And that is where Africa’s foreign partners should be looking too.”
This article was originally published on New Times Rwanda.