WEFA: Young Africans urged to help create the future they want

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) – World’s leading entrepreneurs Friday asked young Africans to step forward, engage with the politics of the continent and help to create the future they want.

Speaking at a World Economic Forum on Africa event on youth and employment, Founder and Managing Director, Mara Group, United Arab Emirates, Ashish Thakkar, told young Africans that “it is our time now. We need to do it for ourselves. Criticising from the outside is the easiest thing to do. And we young people can do more to influence policy that affects our businesses and our lives.”

However, Zamantungwa Khumalo, co-founder of South Africa based Africa Unleashed, warned African youth to be careful so as not become like the leaders they criticize and with whom they are dissatisfied with.
  
Khumalo said that “the previous generation of leaders learnt from their colonial masters, and we must not just become what we know as well. If we do, Africa will not rise to its full potential.”

Kola Karim, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Shoreline Energy International, Nigeria, said young people make up at least 44% of Africa’s population and therefore “have the numbers” to change the direction of the continent.

Karim stated that “there are more of us than them. We can take power and create a better future for ourselves. Young citizens should take their civic responsibilities seriously. They do not have to become actively involved in politics, but should influence policy through their votes and advocacy. Africa’s economic growth in recent years is an indication that the new generation is already making a difference.”

Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security, African Union, and President, Femmes Africa Solidarité, Switzerland, Bineta Diop, noted that in a similar way the women’s movement in Africa has given a voice to women and forced itself onto the agenda, the young can strive to make politicians take youth interests into account in all decision-making.

“We need movements that spurn conflict and corruption,” she said. “Women encountered many obstacles, but we fought for ourselves and managed to get decision-makers to listen to us. Youth can do the same.”

Esi Cleland, Chief Executive Officer, AfroChic, Ghana, stated that already, young people are helping to shape the future, but that “they can do a lot more. We need to dream really big, because the challenges facing Africa are really big. It’s hard to dream big at first, and we tend to take small steps first. But eventually we realize that there are no limits to what we can achieve as people.”
-0- PANA MON/VAO 9May2014

09 Maio 2014 16:52:09




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