• AfDB has announced it will roll out an initiative to equip Africa’s youth to realize their economic potential and drive inclusive growth across the continent.

    Dubbed Jobs for Africa’s Youth Initiative, the project will be implemented across all African countries with an aim of reducing both internal and external migration.

    The African Development Bank’s President, Akinwumi Adesina announced the good news at the Africa Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa on January 29, 2016.

    Dr Adesina was addressing the issue of youth migration, to the 34th session of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee, at the AU Summit.

    “I am proud to announce that the African Development Bank, in collaboration with the African Union and the Economic Commission for Africa, is currently developing a Jobs for Africa’s Youth Initiative as the centerpiece of our effort to improve the quality of life for all Africans,” he said.

    This came at a time when the African leaders at the summit were engaging in a discussion on how to curb youth migration in Africa as well as set them up for employment.

    Earlier at the meeting, AfDB President said that Africa “must take a proactive stance and not just manage today’s migration crisis – but avoid tomorrow’s.” He added: “we must invest in building a future for Africa’s youth in which they can participate with pride and prosper. Stable, high quality employment for Africa’s youth is the answer.”

    Dr Adesina noted that Africa’s pervasive lack of economic opportunity for the youth also fuels migration. Sometimes it is internal migration, where the youth leave rural areas for urban centers, putting a strain on our cities and still not finding opportunity. Sometimes it is external migration to Europe and beyond.

    The NEPAD meeting discussed the issue of skills and migration, and particularly youth migration noting that the problem of migration among the youth was a matter of urgency that required immediate resolutions.  

    “The migration of African youths is an issue of serious concern that has to be addressed urgently. Not only does it dent our image as Africa, but also stymies our economic development endeavors,” observed The AU Chairperson and Co-chairman of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee, Robert Mugabe.

    “We cannot continue to allow a situation where our able-bodied men and women embark on risky and perilous journeys across the oceans in search of a supposedly ‘better world,’” he added.

    Mugabe called on the NEPAD Agency to assist member states in developing facilities aimed at equipping African youths with the necessary skills to guarantee them employment opportunities.

    “In addition, the Agency is called upon to assist in the creation of small industries and businesses targeting women and youths so that the need to migrate is minimized. Africa needs to benefit from its critical human resource, the young people, whom we must nurture to enable their meaningful participation in national development efforts,” he said.

    According to AfDB, the Jobs for Africa’s Youth initiative will focus on creating jobs for rural youths via agriculture, develop a new generation of young graduates for commercial agriculture and agribusiness (Agripreneurs), develop Skills Enhancement Zones which will link industrial clusters with young graduates for skills development for the labor market and develop a new generation of young ICT entrepreneurs for Africa. Additionally, they will be supported with business incubation and financing facilities to grow their businesses.

    “We expect that the Jobs for Africa’s Youth Initiative – which will work across all African countries – will reach over 50 million youths over a 10-year period and stimulate the creation of 25 million jobs. It will add an additional $30 billion to African economies. More importantly, it will help us to stem the tide of migration within Africa and into Europe. We will keep Africa’s youth in Africa by expanding economic opportunities. This will help Africa to turn its demographic asset into an economic dividend,” he concluded.

    Image Credit: Farm Africa