African Youth Focus

by Developed Africa 4. February 2014 09:00

The topic of Africa's rising youth population is a popular one, and on Friday the BBC held a debate in Malawi to address it.

The debate was held to discuss:

whether the population explosion could be used to propel economic growth for Africa- or if it could backfire." 

The debate started by introducing the panel and the audience to the topic of youth in Africa, with the focus on Malawi's youth, as they state that "almost half of all Malawians are under 15". The discussion is immediately started by the panel, with the causes being discussed first, with one participant claiming that youth have become a burden due to the poor match between the skills they learn in the classroom to the skills required by industry. 

A representative from the government claimed during the talk that they are trying to run programmes to "absorb" as many of the youth into employment as possible, but that it is just not possible for everyone to be employed; here he points to Europe as an example of not everyone being able to be employed. Later on, the audience seemed to be incredulous to the government's claims that they have a youth budget that is fit to see all of their programme plans through.

A participant from Zimbabwe, said that the situation was similar there too, and that there are 10,000  graduates every year and that the problem is an "unjust economic system" that doesn't give enough value in return for the time put into education; but stated that:

the solution is not to make everyone an entrepreneur" 

Others in the audience tried to claim that it was up to young people to get themselves into work, and to stop expecting the government to do everything for them, but this seemed to be a minority view, as the majority appeared to think that the youth were really doing as much as they could within the system they have to deal with.

Another major issue that appeared to be prominent in the discussions was that of the political community, and the problems young people have with firstly trying to feel involved in politics, and secondly the issue of lack of young people working in the government.

To listen to the debate click here.

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