a future we’d be proud of
There’s a common saying globally, “Children are the leaders of tomorrow”, but many in Africa has lost faith in that line owing to the many African leaders who have chosen to hang onto power like it’s life support, refusing younger generations the opportunity for service. Don’t get it twisted, there’s need for the wisdom of the elderly at that level of leadership but the dynamism and strength of the youth is very much necessary as well.
Africa and its leaders must begin to think of the advancements they want to see in the continent and replicate its seeds in the lives of its dangerously rising population.
According to the United Nations, “Africa is projected to see the largest relative increase in the size of its population over the coming 15 years: the median projection of 1.68 billion people in 2030 is 42 per cent larger than the 2015 population of 1.19 billion.”
A crazily alarming amount of this population is uneducated. According to the BBC, in Nigeria in 2017 the government said the country has 10.5 million of its children out of school which is the largest number in the world. Tertiary institutions produce up to 500,000 graduates annually from very poorly funded institutions and there are those who studied overseas who also come home to compete for jobs.
According to Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) in 2017, Nigeria needs 4.59 trillion-naira worth of investments annually for the next 15 years to adequately develop its infrastructural deficit nationwide and this isn’t far from the case in most African countries- infrastructural deficit. In the same year, the government of Nigeria allocated a paltry 7.04 per cent of its total budget to education as against a United Nations 26 per cent recommendation.
Budgets on education in different African nations need to be strongly improved upon as quality education is the bedrock of development anywhere in the world.
The African people are really not asking for handouts or freebies. All they want is an enabling environment for business growth and career advancement.
The World report on disability, published in 2011, said about 25 million Nigerians had at least one disability, while 3.6 million of these had very significant difficulties in functioning. This is just one nation compared to the many abandoned Special Need sectors in many other African countries.
In 2006, the Nigerian census reported 3,253,169 People with Disabilities, or 2.32% of the total population of 140,431,790 in that year. Today, that figure must have unimaginably skyrocketed.
Life is synonymous with progress. African leaders and its people need to take deliberate steps to cater for this section of her rising population, to deal with poverty/illiteracy, for which they are most vulnerable.
In the Nigerian scenario, if we commit to educating, training and empowering 500 People with Disabilities from each geopolitical zone every quarter, in a year we will reach 9000 PWDs, lifting them above the poverty and illiteracy margin. Going by this, in 20 years (by 2038) we will reach 180,000 PWDs. This might look little but what it will do for Nigeria and Africa is that a lot of families and individuals would be living a better life- above the poverty line, able to provide for themselves and contribute to the development of the continent.
African leaders must rise to this demand and begin to rapidly invest more in education, human capital and infrastructural development to advance careers and grow businesses for economic stability.
Civil Liberties Organizations must consistently press forward these demands for African leaders to take deliberate steps towards building a future that all will be proud of.
As a people, Africa needs to pay rapt attention to the most important needs of the continent: its dangerously rising population vis-à-vis its growing education demands which will in turn either transform Africa for the better or for worse.
Media/Communications Manager, RSFAYD.
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