Newness Is Not Virtue-Oldness Is Not Vice
It is a truism that young people are naïve, inexperienced, ideologically malleable and gullible. Their gullibility and naivety are more of harbinger for disaster than that for economic development.
What does this mean for the African continent where almost half of the population is below 15 years and only 3% is over 65 years?
In their Annual Letter 2019, Bill and Melinda Gates revealed what had surprised them in the year 2018.
One of the surprises was that whereas other people in the world keep getting older, Africans keep getting younger. Confusing? Yes, I know it is confusing but it is understandable when broken down.
In every part of the world, people are living longer and as more children survive to adulthood, women are having fewer kids than ever before.
In Africa, the annual number of births is going up in the poorest parts of sub-Saharan Africa, even as it goes down in other parts of Africa. This means that the global median age is on the rise while that of Africa is lowering.
Niger has the youngest people on the continent with a median age of 15.4. Mali, Uganda, Angola and Zambia follow with respective median ages of 15.8, 15.8, 15.9 and 16.8.
41% of the population in Africa is under 15 years and only 3% is over 65 years. Europe and North America have the highest proportion of seniors with 18% and 15% of their respective population over 65 years.
Ever since time immemorial, be it in imperialistic empires, slave trade camps and kingdoms, older people have been guiding, subduing and dominating younger people.
Does this historical fact of the old dominating the young in combination with these statistics showing Europe and America having larger proportions of old people in their populations while Africa has larger proportions of younger people in its population, justify the prevalent Euro-American dominance on this planet?
What is needed for a population of very young people to defy the many odds that prevail against it? Can it have the ability to harness the opportunities that await it?
How Entrepreneurs Exploit Our Fear To Grow Old
Modernity’s double punishment is to make us both age prematurely and live longer. People in the world are so obsessed with remaining young.
Given the way the old are debased and portrayed in stories and commercial advertisements, and the way they are socially despised, no one wants to be old anymore.
Entrepreneurs have found this fear of ours a very lucrative avenue by orchestrating a whole business industry of cosmetics and “health foods”, built to ignite, nourish, sustain and profit from our insatiable need to stay young.
We have been convinced that youthfulness is virtuous and elderliness is frivolous. Stereotypes have a way of taking on their own reality and shaping that of the status quo but that does not make them true.
Head Image: www.fundsforyouths.com
Few excerpts from: www.gatesnotes.com/2019-Annual-Letter & www.weforum.org