Realising the Future We Want: State of African Youth Report 2015
On April 17th 2015 AIDS Accountability International launched:
The “Realising the Future We Want: State of African Youth Report” which examines the State of African Youth Issues in the context of the Post 2015 Agenda and is an analysis of the principal issues being faced by African Youth today.
This report is the second initiative by AAI under the AYTF umbrella, and we hope that it plays some small role in creating transparency around the barriers being faced by African Youths, promotes dialogue on the possible recommendations and solutions, and calls the powerful and even not so powerful to action to improve the daily lives of the 746,979,350 African Youths that form 65% of the 1.1 billion Africans on our beautiful continent.
More about the event here (Event has now passed)
AIDS Accountability International focusses only on needs-based research and advocacy and this report “Realising the Future We Want” is the direct result of our team having identified a gap in the dialogue around the direct inclusion of African Youth in the Conference on Population and Development (CPD) spaces. AAI is proud to have developed this report in conjunction with input from the African Youth Task Force Members, and to have it launched and discussed in New York at the April 2015 CPD. This as a means to directly increase the engagement between African Youth and international and African government representatives to the United Nations in New York, as well as the myriad of other stakeholders in the CPD process.
The report examines a wide variety of data and finds that African Youth are still adversely discriminated against in all areas of development: health, education, access to information and communication technology, employment and security. The report also highlights that Youth in African countries are still disadvantaged by a lack of human rights, good governance, transparency and accountability. Gender inequality, poverty and financial inequality continue to be insurmountable barriers to the reaping of the demographic dividend. The potentially positive role that migration and urbanisation could play are not being given the right circumstances to contribute to development but are instead undermining Youth’s prospects. The document also shows how finance for development and policy coherence are not yet well placed for African Youths to yet realise the benefits. Overall, the percentage data shows improvements in many areas but because many nations are not keeping up with population growth, real numbers of young people being left behind are growing.
The report makes a series of practical, implementable and sometimes innovative suggestions.
• Ensure a human rights approach to all development work, with the inclusion of engaged youth throughout the process, and using only 4 Cs policy (comprehensive, coherent, coordinated and cross-sectoral), at all times based on quality data only.
• Address structural drivers such as gender inequality and poverty (including access to basic services) as a matter of urgency.
• Ensure that finance for development programmes are innovative yet stable, whilst ensuring all stakeholders fulfil commitments to financial allocations and increasing representation of Africans in financial and economic decision-making spaces globally.
• Ensure a progressive approach to allowing youth’s bodily integrity and the opportunity to make their own health decisions, whilst expanding access to treatment for mental illness, substance abuse, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and non-communicable diseases in youth friendly environments.
• Ensure that Youths have universal access to quality education, including but not limited to alphabetical and numerical literacy, secondary and tertiary education, comprehensive sexuality education and citizenship and human rights education, including life skills such as leadership, creative thinking, strategic planning and problem solving. This must be equally provided to all, without gender or geographical, religious or other discrimination.
• Examine innovative public-private partnership options for revisiting the understanding of entrepreneurship, employment and training in Africa, and create a greater regard for the informal sector, self-employment, craftsmanship and others micro-businesses whilst ensuring that Youth have access to school-work gap programmes. Concurrently enforce labour laws that protect young people including women, children and persons with disabilities and provide equal opportunities.
• Governments need to create an enabling environment and policies to ensure increased access to information and communication technology for all young people regardless of gender and geographical location with the support of the private sector, and in so doing use competitions, idea challenges, hackathons and innovator fairs to motivate youths to enthusiastically conceptualise, develop and follow up on innovative ideas using technology to solve both business and social challenges. Provide phase 2 support such as capital, network opportunities and mentoring for start-ups to scale up and become more than just survivalist.
• Ensure Youth engagement in ensuring good governance, transparency and accountability and anti-corruption monitoring. Governments need to make sure that Youths are engaged in the design and implementation of any emergency responses to security threats and are at all times physically and adequately protected by the government.
This report is not meant to be a comprehensive panacea to the challenges being faced by African Youths today, but a contribution to greater transparency around the issue, a stimulus for dialogue and a call to action for the stakeholders and decision-makers.
The call of “nothing about us, without us” stands for the involvement of African Youths too, especially in global development processes such as CPD, where decisions are being made by powerful actors that will directly affect the lives of the 750 million African Youths alive today (and more as we move into the future).
AIDS Accountability International and the African Youth Task Force call on you to speak to an African Youth today.