Published on Nasikiliza

Africa, Stand Up!

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Earlier this year, the World Bank got a taste of what African youth can bring to the table. I was one of 30,000 Twitter users participating in the #iwant2work4africa campaign. For months, we voiced our passion for Africa while shoehorning our qualifications to work for the continent, all in 140 characters.

I am hoping that the #iwant2workd4africa turnout is only a fraction of what the World Bank is about to see from African youth at the upcoming World Bank Global Youth Summit taking place on October 23. Youth from all over the world are expected to gather at the Bank’s headquarters in Washington DC to discuss and debate development issues that affect us.

I am making a personal appeal to my fellow youth to attend the Summit online, represent Africa, and voice their opinions. Three out of the four cases in the Development Competition are exclusively addressing Africa. Who better to decide the solutions than Africans themselves? Let’s face it: Africa DECIDES.

It’s time to bring the issues to the table. We need to talk about unemployment. We need to talk about innovation. We need to talk about how we can move forward, but we can’t move beyond rhetoric until we have properly deliberated.

I’m sure the suggestion to “talk”, given our current situation (over 50% of youth in Africa are unemployed), will be received with raised brows. Haven’t we been “talking”, or so it seems, for half a century now? Before we completely brush this off we have to acknowledge that 50 years ago, youth did not constitute over 65% of the African population, as they do now. The conversations that were had then were only directed towards what is now about 35% of the population. We are witnessing a paradigm shift, and we have to respond accordingly.

We also need proportionality in representation –although we can easily arrive at cultural solidarity, African countries do not have a homogenous narrative. Even within countries, there are social, economic, and cultural disparities.

This is why African youth have to come in full-fledged support of their countries and communities. The Summit will be in Washington, DC, but, hey, what’s geographical inconvenience in a world of live tweeting and real time video streaming?

Whether in person or via internet, I hope to see you there, reppin’ Africa!

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