Africa Youth Forum in Ethiopia Eyes Continental Demographic Shift

In Ethiopia 41% of the population is under the age of 15. (Photo: Young teenager with two girls in the village of Berhale, Afar Region/alamy)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 24th, 2019

Pan African Youth Forum Kicks Off in Ethiopia With an Eye on Continental Demographic Shift

New York (TADIAS) — Currently, an estimated 75% of Africa’s population is under the age of 35. And in Ethiopia — where the 2nd Annual Pan African Youth Forum got underway today at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa — the median age is 18 with 60% of the population below the age of 25. More than 40% of Ethiopia’s population is under the age of 15.

This could either be an opportunity or a problem depending on how well each country on the continent is preparing its youth for the future. According to World Population Review “with a 2019 population of approximately 110.14 million, if Ethiopia follows its current rate of growth, its population will double in the next 30 years, hitting 210 million by 2060. Most of the world’s population growth in the next 40-50 years is expected to come from Africa, and Ethiopia will be a large part of the growth.”

“From a demographic point of view, this calls for a paradigm shift towards the recognition and support of the youth to harness their potential by building capacity for quality education and skills improvement, health and well-being, good governance, human rights and accountability, employment opportunities, leadership skills, empowerment and entrepreneurship,” notes The African Union Commission, which is hosting the forum in Ethiopia this week.

The press release adds that Moussa Faki Mahamet, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), will be launching the “1 million by 2021 Initiative”, focusing on investing in employment, entrepreneurship, engagement, and education opportunities for African youth across the continent “while leveraging partnerships and private sector opportunities.” This initiative is scheduled to be launched via a Pan African Youth Forum under the theme “Africa Unite for Youth: Bridging the Gap and Reaching African Youth.”

The African Union Commission says “Twelve pathways have been identified as drivers for the 4Es that will facilitate the expansion of opportunities in youth development: models for teacher development; mobilizing and catalyzing capital growth for youth-led start-ups; nurture start-ups; skills transfer hubs; internships and apprenticeships; digital skills; job centers; digital skills; leadership programs and exchange programmes. The initiative will bring together key continental players in the development space and the private sector to pool together resources and opportunities, within a sustainable ecosystem built along collaborative and Pan-African lines.”

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