ADEA’s hopes, expectations and aspirations for African youth

Today we celebrate International Youth Day!

Africa is currently the youngest continent in the world. Over the next few decades, young Africans will play a critical role in the social and economic development of the continent. Ensuring they receive a quality education will be key.

ADEA's hopes on International Youth Day 2019
Two students in Zambia | PHOTO CREDIT: Jessica Lea/Department for International Development

This post is the eighth in a blog series published in 2019 in the context of a collaboration between the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE)

August 12 was first designated International Youth Day by the UN General Assembly in 1999, and serves as an annual celebration of the role of young women and men as essential partners in change. This day is also an opportunity to raise awareness of challenges and problems facing the world’s youth.

2019 theme: “Transforming education”

There are currently 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in the world. This is the largest youth population ever.

Africa is currently the youngest continent in the world and will continue to be for the next several decades. By 2100, almost half of the world’s young people will be African.

Over the next few decades, young Africans will play a critical role in the social and economic development of the continent. The continent’s efforts to educate its youth will have vast implications for its economic development, stability and prosperity.

This year’s theme highlights efforts to make education more inclusive, equitable and accessible for all youth, including efforts by youth themselves. Inclusive, equitable access to education is crucial to achieve sustainable development and can play a role in the prevention of conflict.

Indeed, education is a ‘development multiplier’ and a powerful cross-cutting instrument as it plays a pivotal role in accelerating progress across both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Africa’s Agenda 2063.

ADEA’s contribution to transform Africa’s education and training

Today, Africa can seize the opportunity offered by its demographic shift by investing in human capital development, particularly at the secondary education level in which youth gain the skills and knowledge needed to be productive citizens.

The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) – the voice of education and training on the African continent for the past 31 years –recently organized its High-Level Annual Policy Dialogue on Secondary Education in Africa: Preparing Youth for the Future of Work

This important continental event concluded that it is indeed critical to reform secondary education in Africa by enhancing the teaching profession, quality learning, 21stcentury skills provision, and embracing innovation and information and communication technology (ICT) if we want to better prepare African youth for the changing future of work.

Now is the time to rethink what skills young people will require to enter the workforce following secondary education, and to intentionally design secondary education systems with those skills in mind.

Putting in place the conditions for economic growth and job creation in Africa will be critical. As part of this, young people will also need to be prepared with the knowledge and skills required to succeed as entrepreneurs and sought by employers. 

In addition, this year ADEA, the African Development Bank and the African Union advanced work on the African Education Fund (AEF). During a 2-day workshop held in July in Côte d’Ivoire, the 3 institutions along with representatives of African countries produced a joint declaration in support of the establishment of the AEF as the unique African mechanism to address the challenges of education and skills development in Africa.

The African Education Funds is a unique, Africa-initiated, continental education fund designed, owned, led and managed by Africans to support tertiary, technology, technical and science education in Africa. The goal of AEF is to complement, collaborate and be mutually inclusive of existing funding mechanisms at the national and international levels.

When operational, the AEF will make available US$300 million, and scale up to US$1 billion over 10 years to finance technical vocational education and training, and science technology, engineering, and mathematics in Africa. 

ADEA’s hopes and expectations for the African youth

ADEA’s hope is to keep the current momentum alive by strengthening partnerships with the key stakeholders at country, regional, continental and global levels to work towards the realization of inclusive, quality and relevant education for all young people in our beloved Africa.

ADEA is committed to play its part as a convener, knowledge creator, peer learning facilitator, and forum for policy dialogue to reach the high expectations for the African youth. To this end, ADEA will engage with African decision-makers, educational practitioners, private sector, civil society, youth organizations, and development cooperation partners to ensure that we all work to deliver on the objectives set in the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the Continental Education Strategy for Africa 2016-2025 (CESA 16-25).

Join us and together let’s unlock Africa’s youth potential!