This is one of 38 winning blogs from the 2021 Blog4Dev competition, the World Bank Africa annual writing contest, inviting young people to weigh in on a topic critical to their country’s economic development. Blog4Dev winners responded to the question: How can young people work with their governments and civil society organizations to respond to the impact of COVID-19 and build a stronger post-pandemic economic and social system?
The year 2020 began with positive expectations, but events proved devastating. The entire planet is now submerged in a health crisis with no foreseeable end; and its effects are apocalyptic in financial, social, and health terms, especially for the most fragile segments of the population.
Africa has suffered a heavy blow—a real “punch in the gut.” In a continent already weakened by extreme poverty, conflicts, an often-dire political situation, and extremely weak health conditions, the new coronavirus has made the situation even worse. However, there is still hope. We Africans are fighters, and we will surely overcome, with everyone pulling together, especially youth.
, first by focusing on prevention and second by complying with the health guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) and by our respective governments.
It is also our duty to seek new solutions to find our way through this crisis, working in conjunction with our governments and other civil society organizations, because together we are stronger.
This cooperation between young people, governments, and other entities needs to give birth to social projects with wide-ranging youth involvement, promoting actions of volunteerism and solidarity led by young people and targeting the most disadvantaged. Moreover, young people, if organized, can stimulate the economy, by seeking out business opportunities, disrupting the market and creating new jobs; investing in sectors such as renewable energy, sustainable tourism, information technology, and other sectors that are currently the drivers of the world’s leading economies. At the same time, governments must assess the situation in the labor market and provide young people with opportunities for engagement, in particular promoting the fields in which young people are graduating.
We should also not forget that young people are responsible for the political future of their nation; so, in the midst of this pandemic, each individual must exercise citizenship. Although young people often abstain from the political life of their country, they have the chance to “reform” how politics is conducted, to make it more dynamic and motivating, always striving for the good of the nation. Rulers, in turn, should give young people the opportunity to express their ideas, evaluating those that can in some way contribute to the social and economic dynamics of the country. Many young people have good ideas, but they seldom have the chance to be heard or to put their dreams for their country into practice.
May God bless Cabo Verde; may God bless the African nations!
Bruno Pires is the 2021 Blog4Dev winner from Cabo Verde. See the full list of 2021 Blog4Dev winners here, and read their blog posts.