The growing population in Africa is viewed as a huge resource for jobs, innovation in different fields and political growth on the continent.
Somaliland envoy to Kenya Bashe Omar while addressing the International Model United Nations in Africa (IMUNA) conference in Nairobi said empowering the youth should not just be about creating opportunities for them, but making them understand the importance of taking advantage of such opportunities to work with others.
“The important role African youth play in global development cannot be overemphasized. It is crucial that leaders and young people alike partner with one another to strengthen the hold of democracy and human rights, expand economic opportunity, and support those who seek peace in areas where conflict has festered,” Omar said in his keynote address.
“Indeed as it has been stated before, the youth are the future of globalization and development in the world.
“In Somaliland, where I come from, the youth form 70 per cent of the population. And with that comes so many pressures to create for them the opportunities to grow themselves into successful adults,” he stated.
“They need better education facilities from childhood into university level and job opportunities once they graduate.”
The International Model United Nations in Africa (IMUNA) is an educational simulation of UN held by International Global Youth Network (IGYN) in which young people gather to learn more about diplomacy, international relations and the UN.
Omar appreciated the effort by the United Nations to bring together international young people to experience a United Nations Conference Atmosphere, showcase their Critical thinking abilities, Negotiation, diplomacy and improving Leadership Skills, Networking and Meeting with the best International Young leaders as well as Traveling for a purpose and International Recognition all in a multiculturalism atmosphere.
This he said works well with the theme of this conference which is “Empowering Youth to build a better world”.
“I remember President Obama’s speech at the US-Africa Summit in 2014 where he talked about the African continent is home to the largest youth demographic on the planet- that is, 200 million people between the ages of 15 and 24,” the Somaliland envoy stated.
“And he (Obama) said there had been prediction by the International Monetary Fund that in the next five years, Africa will be home to eight of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world. This was just over a decade after the continent had been dubbed “hopeless” by The Economist magazine in 2000.”
According to Bashe, there remains a great disconnect between Western perceptions of the African continent and the quickly-changing realities present on the ground.
The common stereotypes about Africa offer simplistic images and stories of destruction and death while overlooking the continent’s embrace of globalization and prosperity.
“There’s no question that young Africans face numerous challenges in relation to their economic development and rapid demographic shift- for example, employment opportunities.”
“Conversely, the size, energy, and innovation of these young people are assets that can be harnessed with appropriate policies to further development and adequately deal with the issues facing them.”
He said that young people are driving the development of a new class of entrepreneurs that African countries need to prosper.
Young, innovative African leaders are fighting for positive change and using technology to enhance education and solve problems presented by poor services, lack of infrastructure, and political stagnation.
“The important role African youth play in global development cannot be overemphasized. It is crucial that leaders and young people alike partner with one another to strengthen the hold of democracy and human rights, expand economic opportunity, and support those who seek peace in areas where conflict has festered.”
“In every village, town, city, and country around the world, there are young people with the power to transform their communities and our world. Young people are the key to resolving the entrenched problems facing our generation.
“Employment, education, health, violence, and climate change- these are all global issues. The inclusion of youth from every corner of the world, I believe, is essential in fighting these challenges at both the local level and the global level.”
He said it is important that the world joins as one and work towards equipping the youth to build a better future for themselves where they can live and work together devoid of placing their backgrounds to create a buffer between them.”
BY ODINDO AYIEKO