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Moving to the future, together with our youth

When it comes to building our global future, there is no bigger asset than today's youth – this is the generation that will solve future crises, lead countries, write policies, innovate and preserve or destroy democracies and systems of justice.

Already today, they are far more engaged than their older age groups. As an example, last year Fridays for Future mobilised 1 million youngsters on a single demonstration in Berlin calling the government for climate action. This is an unprecedented 12,5% engagement rate within their age group.

However, despite our societies' reliance on nurturing a future generation of world leaders, community organisers and innovators, today's youth in too many parts of the world are being left behind.

Yesterday's Human Rights Day on 10 December — the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) –, is a stark reminder that Education, equal opportunities, health and employment are crucial. Not only are they a human right but they are imperative when it comes to giving our youth the chance to carve out greener pastures.

Welcome back to FairPlanet's weekly roundup, and this week we're focusing on the world's youth. Read. Debate: Engage.

The good

our youth is our future. Technology is helping us protect their future

In 1999, the General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth. Four in 10 people – 42 per cent of the global population – are aged under 25. And while in most areas of the world populations are decreasing or flatlining, in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa they’re increasing.

Almost two thirds, 65 per cent, of children entering primary schools today will end up in a job that doesn’t yet exist. Technology will be at the heart of most of tomorrow’s jobs, and computing and advanced technological skills, such as knowledge of artificial intelligence, will be highly sought after.

Far from being fearful of an uncertain future, the majority of young people are optimistic about the impact of technology and innovation. According to the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Survey, 78.6 per cent think technology is “creating” as opposed to “destroying” jobs.

In addition, today's youth are keen to be part of the new world of work. They think that having a “start-up ecosystem” and “entrepreneurship” are the keys to giving young people a future.

The bad

we must overcome youth unemployment!

While technology promises a future of world for many of today's youth, youth unemployment is rife in developing nations, and now in developed countries too, with COVID-19's impact on global economies.

However, youth unemployment is extremely rampant across the African continent. Nearly half of the world’s young live in Sub-Saharan Africa, with more than 75 per cent of Africa’s 1.2 billion inhabitants being under 35-years-old and 453 million Africans aged between 15 and 35 years.

Youths account for 60 per cent of all of Africa’s jobless, according to the World Bank. In North Africa, the youth unemployment rate is 25 per cent but is even greater in Botswana, the Republic of the Congo, Senegal, and South Africa, among others. According to the UN, "Young women feel the sting of unemployment even more sharply than young men. The AfDB found that in most countries in sub-Saharan Africa and all of those in North Africa, it is easier for men to get jobs than it is for women, even if they have equivalent skills and experience."

Find out more about youth unemployment in our CHANGE ongoing dossier. Click below!


Tackling Youth Unemployment

by FairPlanet Editorial Team

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Country focus

With a population of 15 million, the West African Sub-Saharent nation of Senegal has long been a blueprint model for democracy, with a long tradition of stable governments and civilian rule in the African continent.

The country's stability over the years, and with the recent ceasefire of 2014 after a local civilian conflict in the Southern part of the nation, has allowed it to send peacekeeping troops to DR Congo, Liberia and Kosovo.

Slaves, ivory and gold were exported from the coast during the 17th and 18th centuries and now the economy is based mainly on agriculture. Today, the money sent home by Senegalese living abroad is a key source of revenue. However, economic growth in the country has not necessarily translated to employment for everyone. Although the youth unemployment rate for ages between 15-24 has decreased from 13.2 per cent in 2010 to 8.2 per cent in 2019, Senegal still faces a problem of unemployment among youth.