Development is a positive advancement in all dimensions of human condition of living. These environmental developments can take the form of social, economic, physical, psychological, political etc but comprehensive when it encompasses all aspects of human life.
A Nation that thinks toward development must first put into consideration the roles of the youth population in achieving the task. The crucial roles youths play in the development of a society cannot be overemphasised. This fact was proved during the slave trade era in which the able young Africans were sold to Americans (north and south) and European continent for a token as a result of the Whiteman deception to Africans.
That mass transfer of people of productive age to the so-called developed nations like United States of America, France, United Kingdom, Portugal etc in 18th to 20th centuries (though they claimed it stopped in 19th century), facilitated the unimaginable extent of the development of European and American countries.
While some countries mentioned above, realised the vital roles of youths in development, their African counterparts, were still very far from the reality. The deception African elites got were that they could manipulate the psyches of the youths and therefore, use them in such ugly venture such as violence, drugs and human trafficking etc to achieve their selfish ends.
Because of the strategic age brackets of the youths, which place them on the stage of their lives, in which their level of productiveness are very high, this discussion, find it worthy to ask whether major factors such as economist, politicians etc in African society, have come to realise the importance of youths productiveness in the development of African continent.
The key roles of youth productiveness in African development are immeasurable but this discussion will focus on the following key ones;
Booms Agricultural Export: Land the nature’s gift to man is one of the major natural resources in African continent. Many arable lands are waiting to be fully exploited. Youth’s productiveness cannot be meaningful without significant touch to the agricultural sector.
The youths’ active involvement in agricultural activities will increase production of cash crops, food crops and other raw materials which industries in Africa and beyond are in desperate need of. Active youth participation in agriculture will increase production of raw materials for exports and production for local consumption.
The benefits of youths productiveness in agriculture include but not limited to these: Sufficient food supply from Africa for Africans, increase in processing activities which will facilitate employment creation, increase income for the employed populace, make available vital raw materials needed in manufacturing industries across African continent, increase exports (such as raw materials and cash crops), complete end to food importation in Africa. This will immediately bring increase in foreign exchange with African nations like never before.
Encourage Entrepreneurship (self employment): The expansion in agricultural activities will boost opportunities that will result increase in entrepreneurship since the people are exposed to various opportunities in extracting, processing, manufacturing, and marketing of finished goods produced locally. These will however inspire the desire of investment in the adventurous youths since the secured nature of the environment assures future profits.
The savings made from the agricultural activities can at the same manner, be utilised for future investment. This act will at the end yield to self empowerment, self employment, and reduction in youth’s dependency. Such boost and increase in economic activities in the continent will bring about improved standard of living to the populace.
Such entrepreneur zeal and desire to invest will further increase the chance for full utilization of the arable land, increase in food and raw materials production which will altogether promote increase in exports and decrease in imports into African nations.
Promote Industrialised Economy and Self Sustenance: The productiveness of African youths especially in agricultural sector, will provide for the existing industries which hitherto, wait on imported semi-finished goods and processed raw materials from other continents with high cost, including import duty, will have to their disposal such as raw materials and semi-finished goods, available for the industries to continue without interruption in their operation.
The non-existing industries will also emerge since investors in the industries will not require importing their raw materials which cost millions of US dollar. Entrepreneurs will venture into full production such that will encourage rapid increase in industrial expansion and thereafter imported goods will be produced in Africa. This will facilitate industrialisation and massive development in the sense that the massive industrialisation will be sustained if other factors are favourable, since there are adequate supply of raw materials and productive youths who will carry out the production processes.
Self Sustenance will be another benefit that will be accrued from the industrialized economy since the dependent individuals in the economy will become employed and through adequate savings, raise capital to establish their own small to large scale industries.
Less Reliance on Government for Employment: Productiveness among the African youths as stated early will promote and encourage entrepreneur desire to invest. Such will create opportunities for self employment; employment opportunities and self empowerment in private sector thereby reduce the pressure on government to provide employment.
Transform African Economy from Primary Producer to both Primary and Secondary Producers: Presently, Africans are known as suppliers of primary products (raw materials) and importer of finished and semi-finished products from the West. Youth productiveness through the commitment and effectiveness will provide the adequate human resources for raw materials extraction and manufacturing of finished products which are presently being imported from developed nations, from the materials exported from African soil.
Solid Foundation for Development: Youths productiveness entails that the youths are engaging in activities that create source of income from which savings can be produced in form of capital for further investment, increase in economic activities, more employment opportunities, reduction in the goods and services being imported from other continents, Individuals who are unemployed will be employed and bring to minimal the rate of dependency in the economy.
Enhance Curbing of Social Insecurity: Youths full and effective involvement in economic activities, will go a long way in curbing social insecurity such as unemployment, poor welfare condition of the populace including the children, the aged (including pensioners), and reduced rate of dependency on others for means of livelihood.
Youth productiveness will open doors for more employment opportunities, increase in income which enhances savings that will be ploughed into investment and healthy economy, the problem of unemployment, high rate of dependency, even high death rate, will be reduced to the minimum. The young ones will have means of sustaining themselves, their aged parents, grand and great grandparents (as is applicable in African culture) and adequate provide for the best of children’s welfare. The healthiness of the economy will encourage the governmental and private sectors to pay pensioners as at when due. Consequently, the standard of living of the African people, will be greatly improved to a reasonable level, this will increase life expanse among the Africans.
Political Awareness, Strong and Stable Institutions of Government: It is only when the youths are reasonably engaged in a meaningful economic productive activities, that the society, its political institutions, can experience relative peace and political stability. It is only in a peaceful, politically stable society, that the investors and other entrepreneurs both local and international can show interest in investing in such society. No entrepreneur or investor desires to experience loss, therefore, will not desire to invest in hostile environment, as the case will be if the youths are not engaged in productive economic activities.
For development to thrive in any African nations, the youths productiveness must be at the fore front because it is bound to promote enabling system for further socio-economic activities that bring and sustain a long run development.
The political institutions in Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic (CAR), Northern-Eastern States of Nigeria, Northern Mali, Sudan and currently Egypt and the past Sierra Leone and Liberia experience have all in one way or the order prove the fact laid down here. When the youths are not engaged in productive activities, which keep them busy through and which also can meet their needs and sustained means of livelihood, they become anti-productive. the boundaries of their psyches, become porous for easy manipulation by self-centre elite
These manipulations most at times, leads to armed insurgency against the instituted political authority, some section of the society (may be tribal, communal and religious), recruiting for anti-government economic activities such as illegal mining, oil theft, pipe line vandalizing, drugs and human trafficking, armed robbery, kidnapping, sea piracy etc
There is uncompromisable need for instituted political authority that is stable in other that African countries may attain their long awaited development. This can only be promoted to a reasonable extent when the youths are fully engaged in productive activities that are acceptable by the society.
Therefore, youth’s productiveness is very essential to political stability which promote enabling environment for further investments that will facilitate economic advancement.
Sustainable Economic Development: For African continent to experience and sustain development, the crucial roles of the youth productiveness must be incorporated in the policies and programmes of those in authority. Youth productiveness proves the key strategy since their involvement will promote effectiveness in the economic activities which are the major yards stick for ascertaining development. The effective involvement of the youths will increase production of goods and services which will boost the income of the people create more wealth for future investment, increase socio-economic infrastructure, increase better access to education, health and facilities in the society.
These will be realized when youths from different skills and professional backgrounds make collective effort. It will further bring increase investment in training and educational facilities, establishing of training centres or skill acquisition centres, and other private establishment that will aid the public.
The increase in income and investment and social responsibilities like provision of bore hole/pipe borne water, hospitals, schools, scholarship, security and their components, will therefore, reduce the suffering of the people and over dependency which is very common among the Africans.
However, the availability of such physical and intellectual infrastructure will attract and encourage more entrepreneurs and people into investment and as a result, increase development activities and their sustainability. Sustainable in the sense that youths who are involved are still very active and have longer lives span and the productiveness will continue on the long run.
Consequently, the youths are busy in legitimate productive economic activities, and African society begin to experience peace, since many of the security threatening activities are most at times being carried out by the idle and ill-engaged youths, who more often than not are supported by the elderly ones in the society for their selfish illicit economic and political ends.
The foregoing looks palliative but it is not easy to be arrived at except the necessary policies and programmes and the willingness to implement them, are been put in place by the relevant authorities in African continent.
For African youths to be productive to the expected rate that will change the current dependency conditions ravaging the African economy, all hands must be on desk from all the sectors of the economy. The needed youths skills and zeal require thorough training, motivation, enabling political, social, health and economic environment that will be conducive enough to attract the youths.
Social infrastructure should be made available by public and private sectors; each of the entire sectors has crucial roles to play. Its high time African leaders come together to strategize for greater dreams and their actualisation of World-class developed economy in Africa.
African Union (AU) should enter into a treaty that will prohibit recruitment of youths into any militancy/insurgent activities across Africa and enforce it rigorously such that anywhere such is perceived; the African Union will join forces together to pull the leaders of such group to their knees.
The African leaders need to enter into treaty that will guarantee free Afro-ecozone, which will enable exchange of technologies, training facilities, ideas, personnel, raw materials and products through the platform for such treaties (i.e. AU).
Government at all levels in all the countries of African continent, should make peace and solve every security threatening problems, engage more in dialogue and positive compromise, since such produce insecure environment and its habitants hinder and undermine economic activities that promotes development.
The political authorities across Africa should come up with palliative and attractive packages for youths who are committed to the developmental dreams of Africa, and by so doing, many youths will be discouraged from engaging in illicit ventures and be attracted to developmental dreams and their attainment in Africa.
Africans youths should by now reconsider their desperate desire to move to Europe. African youths should be reminded what European countries like Spain, Portugal, Italy, Cyprus, Greece, France, United Kingdom etc are experiencing recently. There is increase in economic hardship such as unemployment currently dealing with these countries. There is currently, a discriminating policy of British government against Nigerians who aspire to travel to Britain. None of the European countries mean good for Africa rather display deceitful advertisement in other to have easy access to our God given resources and exploit them. Hence, it is high time African youths looked back home, settle down, appreciate what God has given to us, finding something doing (legitimate things) and do them diligently.
We cannot continue to be a dumping ground for European and American and most recently Chinese made goods produced from raw materials taken from Africa. Africans should know that China is not in Africa for our benefits rather she seeks for raw materials, employment for her billions of people and market for her products. Chinese economy started booming since they started their parasitic partnership with African countries. Only in the year 2012, transactions between China and Africa, monetarily stood at 12 billion USA dollars. How many of this amount came to Africa, who is losing, who is appropriating the profits, who need the other for the marketing of her products, provide overseas employment for her teaming population, who need raw materials for her ever expanding factory? Let us see president Obama’s quote while in his trip to in Africa; “make sure it’s a good deal for Africa” he was referring to current so called trade and development partnership agreements between China and some African countries. Though Obama did not say this because he likes African people rather to portray his country as best partner to do business with rather than China, who he believed is not for African good, it is a rational call to question the rationale behind China’s uninvited interest to African development.
Africans, our leaders, our economists, it is time for us to rise from our centuries long slumber. Africa for Africans.