UN partners African countries on youth empowerment roadmap


The United Nations agencies in Nigeria and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) are partnering African countries to develop an actionable roadmap on youth empowerment and engagement.

This synergy is intended to provide veritable occupation for the youths end sway them off.

The United Nations System in Nigeria said in Abuja on Tuesday that with youth unemployment hovering above 30per cent in the region, this there is an urgent need for decent employment opportunities, which can only come from fundamental shifts in production patterns and economic structures of the sub-region, to reap demographic dividend in the shortest possible time.

Speaking at a seminar on demographic dividend in Nigeria, Fatma Samoura noted that, channeling of potential positive energies of the youth was crucial in building a better future in the continent.

She said: “But, what opportunities exist for the youth? Unfortunately Sub-Sahara-Africa has witnessed an increase in large-scale terrorist attacks in recent years due in part to rising inequalities between and within countries and radicalization mostly in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger in 2014, 2015 (Boko Haram), Kenya, 2015 (Al Shabaab) and Mali including part of the Sahel region (2015). Other isolated incidences have included attacks in Uganda (2010) and threats in the Horn of Africa and the Chad Basin….

“Africa, with an estimated population of 1.2 billion in 2016, remains the world’s second-largest and second-most-populous continent in the world with relatively young population, and more than half of the population under age 25 in many countries. Since the population of most countries in the continent are growing more than 2 percent every year, the population of the continent is projected to reach 1.9 billion by 2050 most of whom will be young people.”

She noted how Africa’s rapid population growth had implications for peace, security and democratic stability and the progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the continent.

“We see most disenfranchised youth joining terrorist/militant groups at alarming rates. Also, recent migration trends underscore the complex development challenges facing the sub-region from the youth bulge, lack of employment opportunities and governance issues that continue to force people to migrate to other countries and regions,” she observed.

She explained that the high-level meeting would provide a rare opportunity for academia in the continent to participate in the process and to contribute durable strategies and strong demographic evidence for the Post-2015 development agenda.
She added; “The UN system in Nigeria believes that the process of opening the demographic ‘window’ in the country can be fast-tracked by leveraging on the country’s leadership to mobilise political interest and catalyse action for the demographic dividend.

UN Nigeria in collaboration with government at the national and sub-national levels have organized series of national and regional workshops on,“How Nigeria can capitalise on Demographic Dividend for Sustainable Development” in 2014 and 2015. The high-level advocacy fora have aimed at galvanizing concrete actions for sustained discourse on capitalising Nigeria’s population dividend to attain the needed growth and development of the country.

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