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Seminar discusses increased investment in Africa’s youth

Update: May, 25/2017 - 17:00
The second largest continent in the world in both size and population, Africa has the youngest population in the world, with around 200 million people aged between 15 and 24 years, a figure that is expected to double in less than 30 years. — AFP/VNA Photo
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — A seminar was organised in Hà Nội by the African Embassies group in Việt Nam and Việt Nam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) for ideas on investing in African youth.

The one-day seminar on “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in the Youth in Africa” was held on Monday as a part of the celebrations of Africa Day (on May 25) in Việt Nam, and brought together scholars and diplomats from Morocco, South Africa and Việt Nam.

The conference sought “ideas on how to make African economies work best for our children so as to increase the potential for generating hope,” said Mozambique Ambassador to Việt Nam Gamiliel Munguambe. “We hope to explore new forms of strategic partnerships in the context of South-South co-operation between African and Southeast Asian countries and beyond.”

The second largest continent in the world in both size and population, Africa has the youngest population in the world, with around 200 million people aged between 15 and 24 years, a figure that is expected to double in less than 30 years. Thus, African economies are struggling with the issue of high unemployment, to which the youth alone accounts for 60 per cent, experts said at the conference.

According to the 2016 Global Youth Development Index, the potential for generating hope of a happy, healthy and prosperous future is overshadowed by widespread joblessness and unequal access to health and education, among other factors.

Through presentations, various speakers from Africa and Việt Nam highlighted that the demographic dividend is an important tool for boosting and accelerating economic and social development, and a key element to achieve sustainable development, inclusive economic growth, and to build an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa.

Experts also underlined the risks associated with the demographic dividend, due to the failure of globalisation, social stress such as refugee crisis, unemployment and social instability at a time of global geopolitical uncertainties. The risk of susceptibility to recruitment by terrorist organisations and attempts at illegal migration were high.

The seminar saw concurrence that Africa is moving at a pace much slower than its potential, in great part because of the untapped potential of its youth. So it’s time to harness this demographic dividend and start investing in youth.

“In this respect, the shared experiences from Việt Nam on technology and in the educational field could promote a start-up spirit in African universities and support students’ creative ideas,” Moroccan Ambassador to Việt Nam Azzeddine Farhane said in his closing remark. “Africa’s potential in terms of demographic dividend can be harnessed only through a collaborative approach, such as the South-South/triangular co-operation for sustainable development of youth.”

“We are convinced that this seminar is the beginning of a long-term process that will enhance the rich, dense and multidimensional cooperation between African countries and Việt Nam at both bilateral and multilateral levels,” Farhane said. “We believe that investment in African youth will contribute to establishing the Africa we want, as a strong, crucial global factor in the future.”

On May 25, 1963, 32 heads of states and government had signed a treaty establishing the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), with the major goal of developing a spirit of unity among African states and eradicating all forms of colonialism and white minority rule. — VNS

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