7-8 JUNE 2017 / Tour & Taxis / Brussels

Empowering young people through better skills and better representation

Empowering young people through better skills and better representation

EDD17 - Replay - Empowering young people through better skills and better representation

auditorium
A3
Wednesday, June 7, 2017 - 14:00 to 15:30

Key points

  • Sub-Saharan Africa must create 18 million jobs a year to absorb new labour market entrants. Targeted policies and investment are needed to meet young people's needs and aspirations, and to avoid emigration and the risk of radicalisation.
     
  • Young people are the future, but they are also the present. They need a seat at the political table.
     
  • Youth networks should be encouraged so that their ideas can be integrated into the political process.
     
  • The education system must be re-focused on entrepreneurship skills. The education system must teach a mind-set that can solve problems and not just learn the alphabet. The new young entrepreneurs can create the jobs for their peers.
     
  • Mobility is essential for gaining broader experience, changing the mind-set and raising awareness of the opportunities at home.

Synopsis

In the next two decades many developing countries will see their youth populations increase drastically. Sub-Saharan Africa will have to create 18 million jobs a year to absorb new labour market entrants. For example, 77 % of the population of Uganda is under the age of 30.
 
Targeted policies and investment are needed to meet young people's needs and aspirations. Failure can lead to radicalisation, and one societal disaster can impact many other countries. The EU has an interest in supporting young people in Africa, and helping them to find work in their home country. 
 
But how should young people be prepared for an unknown future? Education systems need to be changed. Young people need greater mobility. Moving from one country to another shows them how the African continent can work for them. 
 
Mindsets change with mobility and become more international. Physical barriers are broken down, and people perceive similarities in problems in east and west Africa as they move out of their comfort zone and see new opportunities at home. Education and mobility lead to a cross-fertilisation of ideas. For example, Tanzania is copying projects in Bangladesh. 
 
There is now a gap between what is taught in school and business recruitment needs. The education process needs to instil broad capabilities, especially entrepreneurial and digital, but without neglecting the traditional skills of literacy.
 
Education must be broader than schools and include local NGOs, which, for example, can run a social enterprise or workshops to initiate children into entrepreneurship. Companies offering apprenticeships can also provide a valuable bridge by showing young people opportunities they had not imagined.
 
Young people must be given hope of finding jobs at home; most of them think if they cannot find a job they will emigrate. They need to be supported to create their own jobs; this will create jobs for other young people. Growing economies need skilled young people to fill today’s vacancies. 
 
Youngsters are rarely involved in the process of policy formation. They do not have access to opportunities or civil engagement, and can feel marginalised or left behind, which represents a danger to society. 
 
How can they become more interconnected? It is important to recognise and encourage youth networks, which can lead to political participation and subsequent integration into politics. 
 
Many young people think they are not consulted about the major decisions that affect their future. They are part of a political speech, but not the political agenda. While young people are certainly the future, they are also the present. They need a seat at the political table.
 
Countries such as Cote d’Ivoire, which have massive youth unemployment, have initiated programmes to empower young people and promote their employment. For example, a council brings together all the country’s youth organisations.

Insight

Refocusing education towards entrepreneurship is critical for providing jobs for the many millions of young people looking for work in Africa. It is the youth who will be the future entrepreneurs and job creators. Governments must engage with young people to learn what they need to achieve these goals.

Organised by

    Nancy Kacungira
    Presenter / Reporter
    BBC News
    Frédérique Naulette
    Project Manager, Global Youth Initiative
    Nestlé
    Leonardo Parraga
    EDD Young Leader, Colombia
    Sidi Tiémoko Touré
    Ministre de la Promotion de la Jeunesse, de l'Emploi des Jeunes et du Service Civique
    République de Côte d'Ivoire
    Tibor Navracsics
    Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport
    European Commission - DG for Education and Culture
    Apiyo Okwiri
    President
    Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association
Photo gallery

Password for download : EDD2017