Africa is the world’s youngest continent. Sixty (60) percent of its population is under 25 years of age and 75% are under the age of 35, and these numbers are continuing to trend in that direction. By 2050, almost 1 billion children will live in Africa, accounting for 37% of the world’s population under 18. This represents a pivotal time for the continent to invest in its future - to invest in its youth.
We see this “youth bulge” as an opportunity to shape the next generation into healthy, civic- minded citizens engaged in the social, economic, and political growth of their continent. With appropriate support youth can adopt preventative and best health practices, respect and advocate for religious, tribal and gender equity and justice, participate and play a role in the establishment of more inclusive economies, and build resilience to not just survive but thrive during health and climates shocks.
Currently, many African youth are working, but many are employed informally or for low wages, keeping them stuck in a cycle of poverty. Without the right opportunities, these young people are vulnerable to involvement with drugs, violent crime, and extremism. To harness the collective energy of Africa’s youth, we understand that we must provide the building blocks to success – life skills, education, and economic and livelihood skills.