Yesterday, a three-day summit to discuss issues concerning the African youth began in Accra.
The event ending on Friday is described as the fourth edition of the YouthConneKT Africa Summit, an annual convening or platform that mostly connects African youth from across the continent and elsewhere with policy influencers, political leaders, and public, private and development sector institutions to dialogue on issues concerning the youth.
The first three editions of the pan-African platform were held in Kigali, Rwanda, with the number of participants at the inaugural edition growing from 2000 to 12,000 at the third.
Participants for the Accra event are said to comprise 2,000 physically converging on the city and 15,000 joining virtually.
The growth of participation in the summit shows its importance to stakeholders, particularly governments and their development partners because of the role the young people can play in the development of their various countries and Africa in general.
The African Youth Charter categorises people aged 15 to 36 years as the youth; these are energetic people who cannot be discounted in national and continental development.
However, the African situation now is that the youth are mostly unemployed in spite of the fact that a good number of them are appreciably educated by way of knowledge and skills and capable of further education and retraining, something that can easily be done if the young people are making some living.
The situation is creating serious brain drain on the continent as a number of the youth are migrating to Europe and the United States, even at their peril.
Those staying behind, who are under-utilising their knowledge and skills, eventually get rusty and frustrated and tend to get into all manner of activities to survive.
Crime is a universal phenomenon but a critical look at the African situation shows that the youth are involved in ‘imported crimes’, which could have been avoided were they engaged in some productive ventures.
That is to say that unemployment and related hardships constitute serious security threats.
It should be acknowledged that apart from unemployment, the African youth face other challenges such as lack of opportunities for improving lives (including scholarships), limited access to healthcare, lack of even playgrounds for physical activities to release some of the tension in their system and the negative attitude of the old generation that refuse to give the youth a chance.
The African problems are different from those of other continents and can be addressed only by home-grown solutions that incorporate the contributions of the youth.
This is why the Ghanaian Times believes the YouthConneKT Africa Summit is one of the appropriate avenues to come up with such solutions.
One way to ensure solutions to problems among people or even states is peer engagement and the Ghanaian Times would like to believe the youth can be used as ambassadors of peace, for instance, to engage their peers on the need to avoid violence and other vices in spite of the difficulties in the system.