Youth Participation in Shaping Intra-African Policies

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A transformative shift is sweeping across African politics, poised to usher in a new era if harnessed effectively. The continent’s youth, long relegated to the sidelines of governance, are now asserting their influence in substantive roles, shaping intra-African policies and redefining approaches to governance and development in the 21st century.

 

Historically, youth involvement in African politics has been minimal, largely confined to peripheral roles like coordination and task forces. However, in recent years, African youths have been more involved in the policy-making of their nations. This has been attributed to the growing access to education, technology, and global connectivity.

 

Young Africans are becoming more engaged in politics, actively contributing to decision-making processes, bringing diverse perspectives, innovative ideas, and a strong commitment to advancing their countries. They have taken proactive steps in shaping policy within their countries, engaging in advocacy and grassroots initiatives. Initiatives such as the New Partners Initiative by the Africa-Europe Foundation, Young Africa Innovates (YFA), and the Golden Voice Foundation Africa (GVFA) have provided platforms for African youth to voice concerns and propose solutions for governance.

 

Their active involvement in social media platforms has given these young Africans an additional boost in organizing, mobilizing support from the international community, and amplifying their message among diasporans. The Kenyan tax protest, #FeeesMustFall, and #EndSarz are very good examples in this regard. Due to technological advancement and unlimited access to information on the internet, young Nigerians are more updated on government activities, enabling direct communication of their opinions to elected representatives.

There is more active participation in elections and securing political positions in governmental bodies, regional organisations like the African Union, and ECOWAS, and international NGOs like Amnesty International, etc. Due to their roles in these organisations, young Africans can influence policy directly and advocate more youth-centered and modern approaches to matters in society.

 

Youth involvement in policymaking has brought about changes and modernization in different sectors. Their impact is felt in the educational sector as they are leading the charge on more technology-oriented reforms aimed at enhancing educational opportunities and updating market-demanding skills development among younger Africans.

 

Also, youth initiatives have helped usher the health sector into a more advanced era. Due to technology and innovation, improved healthcare access especially in remote and rural areas is becoming more possible.

 

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The new skills and technology ushered in by the younger generation are making it possible for African countries to measure up with their global counterparts. Industrial activities are becoming modernized to improve productivity while being environmentally friendly, in line with the UN climate change goals. Conservative and sustainable development goals are being emphasized by younger industrialists and the technology to realise these goals is being invented.

 

Although the youths in Africa are making giant strides in the books of history, there are still challenges that barricade these energetic men and women from actualizing their goals. These blocks range from political exclusion, limited resources, and entrenched bureaucracy in the African political system. It remains obvious that the role of young Africans in shaping intra-African policies is pivotal in building a brighter, stronger, and more inclusive Africa.

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