Africa is great and greater is the strength of its youths. But the population is negatively navigating in uprising and consistent rise of armed conflicts across in chart flow. I have watched Africa working through weak institutions and building upon strong individuals, and I can not but wonder why? Why our system seems not to be working in the right direction.
Could there be change in the curve? At times, I imagine if youths are building on for a changed situation? If they can use their strength to effect and drive change? How many are attempting to change the curve. And I realized that the need to awake and unite as the youth voice is desirable. I urge you to tell the other youths about this awakening. How to tell young people to leverage on the greatest strength they have which is greatest asset. I mean the size and quality of youths across the continent. I mean how to activate actions online and offline to set in change of time. What I see is that Africa needs a younger voice as its voice seems old and aged. Africa needs young leaders to rejuvenate itself or else, it may fade away in no time. However than sounds, it may be the only bitter truth to our hearing.
The greatest challenge of youths in Africa is unemployment. Africa is witnessing rising unemployment with six African countries top ranked among First-Ten countries with highest rate of unemployment of jobless African youths. On the lead is Zimbabwe, where unemployment is alarming. Just a few days back, I read a cover story in economist with a title “Hopeless Africa” and was stunned. So much that I ask if Africa is hopeless. I then encouraged myself that it is time Africans must begin to write and tell its stories by ourselves no matter how the story sounds. We must blow our trumpet.
As African youth, are you thinking of how you can rewrite hope on the minds of the people? A cover story with a title “Hopeful Africa” can in the real sense radiate hopefulness and liberate us from the pin, emancipating ourselves from mental slavery. To start with, we must first begin to appreciate our own; begin to change narratives, begin to create and look for “Black Collar Jobs” instead of “White Collar Jobs”. White collar jobs are no more there in Africa. They have gone with the winds. It went away with the colonial masters when Africa was liberated, but we never knew it till now that we are searching for it. Black Color Jobs are entrepreneurial, informal and untapped potentials of our people leveraging on technology to create digital jobs.
In this context, Black collar jobs are jobs created by young Africans for young Africans in Africa and to the world. Black Collar jobs produces products and services that attracts international spend into Africa market. Politically in Africa, the problem begins when there are no spaces for youths in leadership role and this hampers their creativity socially, economically and other wise. Having a lot of young people in numbers ordinarily ought to be advantage than a problem as it seems in Africa . When Government finds it difficult to create or provide enabling environment for jobs creation, that alone is frustrating. Frustration that can lead to violence; and is only timed bomb for African leaders. This may soon explode. They are sitting on dynamite. I see revolution coming one day. I see it clearly. But this time it will come peacefully. Yet I can see it coming.
Let me quickly replay an event of 17th December 2010 in Tunisia of Mohammed Bouaziz; a young graduate that couldn’t get a white collar job after graduation. He started a “Black Collar Job” – small grocery shop. Then police authority led by a woman, questioned him for permits to sell. She slapped him for not being able to afford himself a permit. And Mohammed got angry and set himself ablaze for government insensitivity to his plight of self reliance, and that event put Tunisia ahoy.
I remember, that was the beginning of Arab spring that spread to Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, and present Syria. I saw this as one way youth can express their energy when it is not properly used by the Government.
Responsible Government creates enabling environment for job creation and allows small businesses to grow especially. But in Africa this is opposite. As policies are stifling new businesses at embryo through high taxation for revenues generation. Government Regulations are not at ease and make life of new businesses dead. There are no funding net to encourage new ideas and fund them to grow. New ideas and invention championed by youths are or may be resisted for reason not too tenable.
There are no mentorship platforms. Youths barely have access to loans and if they do, the terms are so hard to meet. To worsen matters, financial institutions make it so difficult for young entrepreneurs to meet up with financial support criteria. Whereas, loans are given to the established individuals in the society, to families members of those working in financial institutions, friends and cronies without much ado.
The older generation seems to have failed the present, and the present will fail the future if nothing is done about it now. It is too bad to know that for instance in some countries, there are no clear youth policy in place. There are absent of political will to youth agenda, when political statement can not be taken as promissory note? When promissory note of African leaders is unclear to youths and is not bankable? When leaders’ rule in auto-democracy for so long years how bankable is such democracy? When leadership is recycled among the same old politicians that ruled us before, what do you make of that?
When youths are only used as tool for negatives/ violence by politicians and dumped after election? When youths believes carrying arms against another is what makes a hero, what do you expect? I tell you, Africa greatest problem is sit-tight- to- power syndrome. And it is this sit- tight- syndrome that does not allowed free market that creates jobs. And if we will correct that and align Africa as emerging market, then sit tight leaders must begin to go, now and forever. Africa is youth and youths are Africa. Let create Africa we want together.