Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has called upon African countries to invest in the youth in order to realise the social and economic transformation of the continent.
Speaking in Addis Ababa where she is representing President Uhuru Kenyatta at the 29th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly, the CS stressed the need for governments to build the skills of the youth and expand economic opportunities to cater for the youths joining the workforce.
“The future of our continent lies in the hands of our youth. We must invest in the youth in order to prepare them to be productive and responsible citizens who will spearhead the transformation of the continent,” she said.
The CS was contributing to the theme of the summit ‘Harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in the youth’.
“Harnessing the demographic dividend in Africa will pivot around governments’ commitment to create sufficient job opportunities to absorb the increasing number of emerging youthful workforce,” Ms Mohamed said
She urged the states to focus on both creating jobs for the youth as well as building their capacity with appropriate skills and attitudes that will enable them make a positive contribution.
She further called on African governments to close the gender gap in employment and leadership in order to realise the full potential of the continent’s demographic dividend.
To achieve greater demographic dividend, it is imperative that we encourage and support our young women and men to actively participate in political and electoral matters,” said the Cabinet Secretary.
Ms Mohamed said Kenya is committed to investing in the youth and has already developed a national demographic roadmap.
“Specifically, the roadmap has domesticated the African Union demographic dividend roadmap within the Kenyan context and highlighted priority actions that need to be undertaken by the country in each of the key demographic dividend sectors,” she said.
She added: “As a country, we are placing emphasis on the four pillars of the African Union roadmap namely, health and wellbeing, education and skills development, employment and entrepreneurship and rights, governance and youth empowerment,” added Amb. Amina.
Africa is projected to account for about 3.2 billion of the 4 billion increase in the global population by 2100. The rising share of Africa’s working age population is increasing the continent’s productive potential at a time when most developed economies are facing the crisis of ageing populations.
“Africa’s share of the global working age population is projected to increase from 12.6 percent in 2010 to over 41 percent by 2100. This massive demographic development will be transformational for Africa and will have important implications for the global economy,” she said.