The open letter went live on Africa Day, 25 May 2021, and was a follow up to the event the previous year in which the African Leadership Institute, in partnership with the African Union’s Office of the Youth Envoy, launched the Greater Inclusion of African Youth in Public Service and Governance report. The open letter draws on the recommendations of the report.
According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division, the average age on the continent is 19 years old, in contrast to the rest of the world whose average median age is between 30 and 40. Yet, even with only about 3% of the continent's population being over the age of 65, the average age of African Heads of State in 2018 was 64.5.
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What this widening governance age versus populace age represents is a Governance Gap, and the further it widens, the greater the political instability and volatility faced by the continent. This generational and governance gap makes the continent much more susceptible to power vacuums developing, political conflict and social unrest as young people demand representation. We are calling on African Heads of State and governments to prioritize reducing this Governance Gap by urgently implementing greater youth inclusion in government. The open letter has been signed by over 30 signatories of influential leaders and youth organisations from across the African continent, including Trevor Manuel, Aidan Eyakuze, Dr Ismail Hamraoui, Mcebisi Jonas, Raphael Obonyo, Lindiwe Mazibuko as well as YouLead, The Centre for Change, Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS), YIAGA Africa and Youthhub Africa.
On International Youth Day, 12 August 2020, the African Leadership Institute’s Project Pakati, in partnership with the African Union’s Office of the Youth Envoy, launched the Greater Inclusion of African Youth in Public Service and Governance report, and the open letter draws on the recommendations of the report.
The open letter went live on Africa Day, 25 May 2021, with a most prestigious panel, moderated by Nozipho Tshabalala, CEO of the Conversation Strategists and Former CNBC Africa Anchor. The panel (See the header image on this page):
- Walter Mongare, Director, Youth and Development, Executive Office of the President of Kenya
- Chiedza Juru, Chairperson Zimbabwe Youth Council Board
- Lindiwe Mazibuko, Co-Founder and CEO, Apolitical Academy Southern Africa, academic, and the former Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of South Africa
- Mark Okoye, Commissioner for Economic Planning, Budget and Development Partners, Anambra State Government, Nigeria
- Solomon Adodo, President of the National Youth Council of Nigeria
Africa urgently needs to open up governance spaces and allow young people to contribute meaningfully at national, regional and continental levels. To continue to leave out young people undermines the very Africa that we all want and deserve. To bring them in to help co-create solutions is a win-win. Watch the panel discussion on Africa Day 25 May 2021 below:
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