Nigeria, October 31st, 2018
Africa boasts of a youthful population, with more than half of its total population under the age of 35. The high unemployment rates, limited educational opportunities still rank high among challenges the African youth face. The challenges the youth face can partly be attributed to corruption, ostensibly inherent in the fabric of our governance systems and structures at various levels on the continent. These put enormous pressure on the youth, to achieve and excel under such a challenging socio-economic environment.
As we commemorate African Youth Day, it is imperative to reflect on the impact of corruption on youth development in Africa and explore innovative ways to involve the African youth in the fight against corruption. African Youth Day, which falls on 1st November, is a day set aside every year by African Union Commission to promote the increased recognition of youth as key agents for social change, economic growth and sustainable development in all areas of African society.
It is an occasion to celebrate the youth on the continent, and an opportunity to contribute and channel youth motivation, energy and creativity towards political, social and economic renewal. The celebration also serves to contribute and channel the youth voices, energy and idealism to reinforce the efforts towards the achievement of sustainable development in Africa.
The theme for this year’s celebration, “RAISING YOUTH VOICES AGAINST CORRUPTION IN AFRICA” is not only appropriate but also timely, considering the increased interest of young persons to mobilise themselves to take advantage of spaces to actively participate in the social change processes at the community, national and continental levels.
Corruption takes birth in a society when the citizens fail to acknowledge that the nation is a common property of all its citizens and the generation yet to come. It is important for young persons to know that in every situation, where we compromise truth and the acceptable norms and procedures, we are giving birth to corruption, no matter how simple or how complicated the matter is and that corruption is one of the greatest evils that stifles the progress of any society.
Curbing corruption essentially requires engagement of the youth as they are generally more open to social change and political transformation. It is important that young persons recognise that good governance can only be attained if corruption is addressed. Therefore, making conscious effort in helping the youth to understand the rules of governance, which include accountability, transparency and integrity, is very key in the fight against corruption. These are principles which need to be inculcated in the youth so that they grow up to be honest future leaders.
It behooves on anti-corruption agencies and the civil society organisations to step up their efforts in developing and implementing innovative youth-engaging interventions which create relevant opportunities and safe spaces for young persons to understand corruption, speak out against it and guard each other against it. The need to involve, inform, and educate young people about benefits of integrity, transparency and good governance can make a significant difference in the shaping of future societies and the balance of power within them. The youth are an important partner in the fight against corruption because as they develop into adults, they carry with them the values they learn in their youth and will provide the next generation of leaders.
It also is important for African youth to participate in choosing sincere leaders in their countries, leaders who have good governance and development of their countries at heart. African governments must endeavor to involve young persons in both formulation and implementation of policies and interventions against corruption
The first step we have to take as young persons to fight against corruption at our personal level by having a strong conviction to do the right thing and displaying integrity. We have the duty to persuade our friends, relatives and parents to reject corruption in all forms at all cost. As young persons, we are fortunate to have good exposure to the internet and social media. Let’s use these platforms to learn more about corruption and share ideas on how to prevent and fight against it. We possess enormous abilities to mobilise our peers, and if there is any better time to mobilise for any cause, it is now and it should be against corruption.
We also use this occasion, to on behalf of the African Youth call on AU to expertide actions in appointing an AU Youth Envoy as a show of commitment to propelling Youth Development in Africa!!
LONG LIVE AFRICAN YOUTH!
LONG LIVE AFRICA!!