The youth are angry, let’s invest in them to stem protests

Saturday January 3 2015

Since the Arab Spring in 2011, we have witnessed many youth-led protests across the world. This is because young people are frustrated with the ever increasing social inequality, unemployment and bad economic policies. They are also frustrated by ageing leaders clinging on to power, and corruption.

Recent data from the UN reveals why young people all over the world are angry: The youth make up 17 per cent of the world’s 7.2 billion people and 87 per cent of them live in developing countries, particularly in Africa and Asia.

Globally, the youth make up 40 per cent of world’s unemployed and, according to the World Economic Forum, the risk of being unemployed for a young person is three times higher than that of an adult.

Indeed, according to WEF, 357 million youth were not in education, employment and training in 2010 and the number is increasing. Of these, 241 million are in developing countries and 78 million live in Africa.

Whereas Africa’s youthful population has been hyped as a dividend in the midst of an economic boom, it may be hard to manage millions of poor, unemployed and uneducated young people trooping into overcrowded cities in the hope of a better life.

Where the demographic shift has tilted in favour of the youth increasingly impatient with the old ways, waves of youth-led protests are likely to occur.

East Africa has one of the youngest populations in the world and it exemplifies the opportunities and challenges of demographic and economic growth. Although the region is seems to be doing well economically, registering an average growth of 6 per cent in 2014, alongside the discovery of hydrocarbon resources, the benefits of this newfound prosperity may not trickle down fast enough to the average 15-24-year-old East African citizen.

It is for this reason that we need to make huge investments particularly in education. These must go beyond developing artisan skills and ensure we have highly skilled young people who can produce quality goods and services in the economy.

John Kim
Via e-mail

Mauritania court too harsh on blogger

A court in Nouadhibou, Mauritania, recently sentenced 28-year-old Mohamed Cheikh Ould M’Kheitir to death for apostasy, after publishing an article that discussed the caste system and the Prophet Mohammad.

The Freedom House holds that the Mauritanian court’s condemning of a blogger to death violates the fundamental right to freedom of expression and is in violation of the country’s criminal code.

The citizens of Mauritania should have the right to express their views without fear of retribution. We urge the judiciary to reverse its decision through a public and transparent appellate process and also urge the government of Mauritania to reform the judiciary to make it truly independent from government and public pressure.

Mauritania is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2014, and Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2014.

Vukasin Petrovic,
Freedom House
Via e-mail

LVEMP funds should be well managed

The Community Driven Development (CDD) project, one of the World Bank-financed environment projects, has been plagued by inefficient financial management manifested in the delay in disbursement of funds, which has always affected development.

The objective of East African Climate Change Policy (EACCP) is to reduce vulnerability and develop economic resilience among the communities.

The CDD type water shed management projects were aimed at improving the livelihoods of the people and eradicate poverty.

The Lake Victoria Environment Management Project 2 (LVEMPII) began in Uganda in June 2014, but since October 2014, when the CDD sub-project accounts were supposed to be replenished, the horticulture, aquaculture, livestock and poultry projects have stunted.

What is happening in Uganda happened in Kenya. These donor funds are a debt burden that all of us have to bear. So the money should be well administered.

Nazziwa Faridah
Namayingo, Uganda

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