It Is Time Africa stood up to Defend and to shine

On the occasion of the 2015 African Youth Day Celebrations


Africa prides itself as being the youngest continent in the world with about 65% of the total population below the age of 35 years, and over 35% between the ages of 15 and 35 years.

About 10 million young African youth arrive each year on the labor market. These numbers and the potential that may come out of it should get Africans hopeful about the future of the continent. But this will not be made possible if we fail to harness the potential of our youth to propel the growth of the Continent.

Sunday November 1st was marked across the continent as African youth Day meant to bring into public notice the experiences, achievements, potentials and challenges of young people across the continent. This year’s celebration was under the theme “African Year of Human Rights towards Agenda 2063 – The Africa we want” with special focus on young women. At the continental level the celebrations brought together over 200young people across the continent and the diaspora at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

One big question that keeps coming up in the heat of all these celebrations “is whether this African youthful population is serving the continent any good at all?” This question I believe should be on the minds of all Africans knowing that our greatest asset in the Africa we have envisioned in the next 50years (2063) is our people and more precisely our youth.

To this end, I believe young people are the real actors to help deliver Africa’s Agenda 2063 which most of them have already started with their wonderful projects and activities across the continent. Ten young people who are delivering wonderful human rights services mostly targeting young women across the continent were selected and honoured by the African Union and their colleagues in Addis Ababa. They shared experiences from their work to the gathering and trust me; these young people are doing great work for the continent already.

Among these top ten African Youth Heroes was Harriet Yayra Adzofu, Programs Director for Kairos Ladies Network from Ghana. Harriet and her team of young professional ladies works with young ladies in High Schools in Ghana empowering them particularly to take keen interest in Agriculture and Agribusiness as a means of becoming entrepreneurs in the near future. This gives inspiration that other young Ghanaians and Africans can also play their part in building a great Ghana and Africa.

I will therefore urge all young Ghanaians and Africans both home and in the diaspora to see themselves as the heroes of our time. We must accept the great responsibility of working to liberate the African continent of poverty, conflicts, wars, corruption, hunger and most importantly human right abuse. We must seek opportunities to develop ourselves for the sole purpose of helping us serve our country, continent and its people and not for any other selfish gains. We must be innovative and creative in all we do to help us create various paths and strategies with which we can use to make a difference in the lives of Africans and the world at large.

Our greatest task as young Africans today is to discover, accept and appreciate our true African identity. This should enable us to define the African problem of our time, find and partner other passionate people, tools and ways to courageously tackle this problem. And for me the African problem of our time will be to fight the new form of slavery and colonialism going on in our countries and continent mostly by our own people. The solution will come when we work for an integrated, economically free and peaceful Africa whose contribution is felt in the world over.

This is our task as young Africans today and the waiting period is over, the talking should be little while more but right action needs to take majority of our time, resources and focus.

We must stop the excessive fun and wastage of our time and the many tools and resources available to us but rather work urgently together as young Africans in our millions from Accra to Cairo to Nairobi to Kinshasa and to Johannesburg so we can in 50yrs time have a much better narrative to tell our children and grandchildren about the new Africa we have helped built. This I believe is the greatest gift and legacy we can have for the generations ahead of us and even those yet unborn.

Long live African Youth!
Long live our African Nations and Union!
Long live our Human Race!

Written By:

African Union Youth Volunteer
Youth Division, African Union Commission
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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