King Mohammed VI of Morocco has stressed the important role the African youth can play for the socioeconomic development of the continent, which needs to rise up to the challenges ahead by mobilizing all its resources and assets.
In a speech, read out Monday in Addis Ababa by the King’s brother Prince Moulay Rachid at the 29th African Union Summit, the Monarch affirmed that “the future of Africa hinges on its youth”, and that “a proactive, youth-oriented policy can channel energy for the achievement of development”.
Today, “nearly 600 million Africans are young. In 2050, 400 million will be aged between 15 and 24”, added the Sovereign, noting that this trend underscores the urgent need to use the demographic dividend to stimulate the emergence of our continent.
“This is a godsend for Africa; it makes it possible for the continent to benefit from a young, educated and abundant labor force to drive the continent’s economic growth”, stressed the Monarch, saying that each year, more than 11 million young Africans enter the labor market, but only 3 million jobs are created while over 70 pc of young Africans live on less than $2 a day.
According to King Mohammed VI, to address the issue of unemployment among African youth requires a proactive policy whose three watchwords are education, higher education and vocational training of the highest quality.
“Investing in young people, who account for nearly two-thirds of Africa’s population, is crucial”, underlined the Monarch, warning that idle African youths will hamper the continent’s much-desired emergence.
“If the challenge of young people’s employability is not addressed urgently, their idleness will be compounded, thus reinforcing their vulnerability and the risk of radicalization”, said King Mohammed VI, noting that nearly 40 pc of unemployed people are ideal recruits for rebel movements and extremist or terrorist groups which are present throughout the continent.
Furthermore, “Africa is losing its youths to legal and illegal migration”, went on to say the Monarch, affirming that there is no way such a loss can be justified.
“I have always firmly believed that Africa can turn the challenges it is facing into genuine prospects for development and stability. African population growth, African institutions, migration and youth issues are opportunities we should leverage together”, stressed the Sovereign, reiterating Morocco’s resolve and readiness to contribute to the emergence of a “New Africa: a strong, daring Africa”.