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Drop in optimism among Africa's youth - report

Faced with the perfect storm of climate change, Covid-19, instability and unemployment, Africa's youth are less optimistic about the future of their countries than they were two years ago - and they're even more pessimistic if they live in Rwanda, Kenya or South Africa.
Source:
Source: Picha

This is according to the 2022 African Youth Survey, which found that youth in Africa are only slightly more positive about the future of the continent as a whole.

This second edition of the African Youth Survey was conceptualised and underwritten by the Ichikowitz Family Foundation in partnership with international research firm PSB Insights.

The survey recorded responses from 4,500 face-to-face interviews with youths aged between 18 and 24 years old, across urban and rural locations Angola, Congo, DRC, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda and Zambia.

According to the survey results, Covid-19, the economy and instability all play a role in the drop in sentiment among youth, followed very closely by worries about corruption, the standard of education and the availability of decent jobs. Seventy-seven percent of respondents are scared they won’t be able to buy their own homes, and three quarters of them believe owning land is vital for their financial well-being.

Improving quality of life

Despite their concerns, 77% of Africans between the ages of 18 and 24 believe their lives will improve in the next two years. More than two thirds are convinced they will lead better lives than their parents. They are determined to control their own destiny. Two thirds of them will marry later than their parents did, and 72% intend having less children.

If their governments can’t help them achieve an improved quality of life, they’ll do it themselves, with three quarters of respondents intending to start their own businesses, even if access to capital remains a major barrier for most of them.

Technology will play a major part of those startups just as it does in their current lives. Wi-Fi is seen as a basic human right, but two thirds of African youth find it very expensive, with only 12% able to afford it every day even though three quarters of them spend an hour a day on social media to get their news and help work out what’s fake and what’s real.

Geopolitics

Africa's youth are switched on about geopolitics and see China as the most influential – and positive – player on the continent, followed in descending order by the US, the AU, the EU, the WTO and the UK.

But there is also a growing negative sentiment about China and foreign companies who extract the continent’s raw materials without properly reinvesting in the countries where they are taking it from. More than a third of South Africans, Ugandans and Ethiopians see foreign influence as negative.

Heightened concern for others

Commenting on the results from the 2022 African Youth Survey, industrialist, philanthropist and foundation chairman Ivor Ichikowitz said it proved beyond any doubt that the current cohort of African youth was aware of the risks they faced, but conscious of the things they would have to address to achieve their dreams.

“In a continent that is often wracked by violence, dominated by patriarchy and divided by xenophobia, it is heartening to discover how 83% of the respondents are concerned about ethnic minorities, with as many again concerned about gender-based violence and 64% believing that their countries have a duty to assist refugees. But there’s still a lot of work to be done, when it comes to protecting the LGBTQ+ community and it’s terribly sad to read how almost half of the youth have suffered some form of identity or other discrimination.

“It is always said that Africa’s greatest resource is not her treasure trove of minerals, but rather the treasure trove of people. AYS 2022 bears this out – and that’s great news for those us who truly believe in making the African Century a reality in our lifetime.”


 
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