House of Cards… and the African Union

I have never really paid any attention to the African Union (AU) meetings. I have always thought of a group of African leaders meeting to make each other feel good, maybe display their wealth and make promises no one ever bothers to track or hold anyone accountable for. Guessing from asking around and listening to the news, I am not the only one who has these imaginings.

Again African presidents meet in Ethiopia for this year’s AU meeting. What makes this different? Maybe the fact that the organization turns 50 will! It is time to take a serious look at the relevance of this organization fifty years on. Africa and the organization have come a long way indeed since Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and a number of his compatriots birth the idea of the Organization of African Unity. By this time it is exceedingly clear that Africa may never become the United States of Africa. Agreeing the US of Africa can only live in our fantasies, there are still some things that may be possible. Listening to radio yesterday, a lady made a very important point. She talked about the fact that young people where not represented in this organization.

It is hard to start to talk about the future of Africa without doing it from the lens of young people. Africa has now exceeded the one billion mark. Not a fantastic achievement, considering the landmass, birth rates and the increased levels of healthcare. What is fantastic is its demographic profile.  Africa is the youngest continent. According to many reports, 70% of the continent’s people are young people. A country like Kenya has almost 70% of its population below the age of 30! It is no wonder Kenya is fast becoming the hub of technology in Africa.

Young people mean young minds that can be innovative, a healthy work force, more contribution to industry, less strain on the health sector, etc. As other countries will attest to, having an aging population does no good for the economy, or the health care system.

There is another side of the coin though; the massive elephant in the room that African leaders must begin to address- the problem of EDUCATION AND UNEMPLOYMENT – The opportunity of Education to Employment. The failure of Academia to match Education to Industry needs to be addressed

According to World Bank report on Ghana, 60% of its youth are unemployed, though Ghana has one of the highest literacy rates on the continent. Many countries have failed to consider the changing demographics, globalization, the opportunities of foreign direct investments, etc. It is ironical therefore that despite Ghana being one of the fastest growing economies in the world, averaging 7%, Sosthenis, a graduate with two Masters from the University of Ghana, has remained unemployed since his graduation. Sosthenis has a wife and two kids. His difficulty may partly be due to the gaps in his skill sets as perceived by Industry.  Consequently, job interview upon interview, he is turned down. Imagine him, and then imagine more than half of the people you meet being like him or worse.

 

 

As industry struggles and grapple to meet human resource demands and the gaps in skill sets, many young people fallow in the desert of unemployment.

 

Observers have described this situation as a TICKING TIME-BOMB!

Over the weekend of May 25, critical issues of trade and regional integration as well as governance will be high on the agenda. ECOWAS and other regional bodies, the laying of fiber optic cables to link many countries, have all showed clear benefits and the importance of this focus; but we must begin to ask ourselves how will Africans take advantage of the trade amongst nations and not abuse it. On the west coast for instance, integration has lead to increased crime in Ghana as it opens its boarders to its neighbors; ultimately raising tensions, which might then lead to tightening of regulations that counter regional integration!

IS THIS A HOUSE OF CARDS?

Well tuned Education will fuel Innovation and Entrepreneurship, reduce unemployment, ensure the sustainability of economic growth and good governance and decrease corruption, as individuals see a clear path to self empowerment and economic independence. Lessons from Asian countries like Singapore may be timely. It invested in education and it’s people, with the clear understanding that it is “people, people, people!”

WE HAVE ALL SEEN THE RECENT UNFORTUNATE WEATHER DISASTERS AROUND THE WORLD LATELY? IMAGINE BEING IN A HOUSE OF CARDS WHEN ONE COMES YOUR WAY…

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One thought on “House of Cards… and the African Union

  1. interesting article but then again nothing that we haven’t heard before in regards with Africa, youth , economy and and everything else in between..

    what turned me off about your article is your assumption and picture you have painted..in regards with our leaders…

    your words….

    “I have never really paid any attention to the African Union (AU) meetings. I have always thought of a group of African leaders meeting to make each other feel good, maybe display their wealth and make promises no one ever bothers to track or hold anyone accountable for. Guessing from asking around and listening to the news, I am not the only one who has these imaginings.

    why in the world would they ” leaders ” have such a fancy platform …and to do nothing but waste our time… ?. these kind of romantic fantasies about Africa are what is holding and depriving us from any of sense of economically and social growth…

    who would want to invest in us and Africa as a whole after reading this kind of article? my answer.. which of course i am very right.. is NO.ONE …..

    the world at large have crippled any kind of potential we have.. , false media reports and un supported blogs like this one… have also in return made us almost inhuman, , incapable and lunatics running around …

    African leaders my dear meet and delegate like every other world leaders, FACT… and progress in Africa as a continent can be seen if you followed us and not depend on what the western” paid for “media and the word in the streets says..

    we happen to have strong governments and proper protocols. only in war torn countries can we bring issues of lack of leadership and promising people what we cant offer..

    what government doesn’t anyways? ….. and really if you knew the African history may be would you know the root of such dis- functionality that we are still recovering from.

    colonizations is the major root of most bad in Africa…( i can go on here)…and may be only if the still affected countries can copy what South Africa did to recover from the colonial era can whole continent move on…

    then again how can we move on…. .. look at what happened between Zimbabwe and Britain?…

    again your words

    By this time it is exceedingly clear that Africa may never become the United States of Africa. Agreeing the US of Africa can only live in our fantasies, there are still some things that may be possible. Listening to radio yesterday, a lady made a very important point. She talked about the fact that young people where not represented in this organization.

    not sure i get what you trying to say…..or what the lady on the radio said……

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