12th of August every year since 1999 has seen young people celebrate the International Youth Day. According to the United Nations, this year’s IYD seeks to put the spotlight on youth engagements at the local/community level, national level, and the global level.
This year’s theme: youth engagement for global action will highlight how the engagement of young people at the local national and global levels is enriching institutions and processes, as well as drawing lessons on how their representation in institutional politics can be significantly enhanced.
1.8billion people of which 90% are in developing countries are youth. These young men and women are not relenting in their quest to have better opportunities, and create the same for others.
They are involved in financial inclusion, climate change, HIV/AIDS, volunteerism, gender equality, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and many other topics of global concern. And they are not looking to be stopped any time soon.
In commemoration of the International youth day in Nigeria, several organizations hosted webinars to sensitize the public on the work that young people are doing, and also to show how much more work needs to be done.
Other youth organisations around the world also hosted webinars and engaged young leaders in discussions around nation-building and the role of the youth in promoting the development agenda.
Africa has the youngest population, with 60% of the continent’s population under 25. It is predicted still, that by 2030, the number of youth will have increased by 42%.
Influenced by individualism, hip hop, and the need to own have unique identities, young people are creating a path for themselves. Also, they are using education to find a path to adulthood- as the transition from a little child who has no idea of rights and freedom, to a young adult who knows what he wants.
What this means for us also, is that many young people in Africa are constantly becoming conscious of what they sand for, or reject.
Hopefully, as the population matures, we will have more people who are committed to the fulfilment of the African Union Agenda 2063—The Africa We Want- which is anchored on the strength of her youth, and their willingness to be a part of the uplifting of the motherland.