Since Africa’s youth started to work on youth activism, we have been raising the voices to say ‘nothing for us without us’.Aya Chebbi; African Union Youth Envoy
By 2050, Africa’s young population, i.e. those aged between 0 and 24 years old, will increase by nearly 50 percent. In 2050, the continent will have the largest number of young people, making up nearly twice the young population of South Asia and Southeast Asia, East Asia, and Oceania.
There is global recognition that long-lasting peace cannot be built without protecting the lives and dignity of young people, and meaningfully engaging them in issues of peace and security. The United Nations (UN) has institutionalised support for through the adoption of UNSCR 2250, UNSCR 2419, and the UN commissioned Progress study on youth peace and security.
Young people under the age of 30, today, account for over half of the world’s population, and it estimated that 600 million youth live in fragile and conflict-affected states. High youth unemployment rates and lack of access to resources in conflict and post-conflict countries is recognised as a catalyst for conflict, as frustration from lack of opportunities and resources can be easily exploited by actors seeking to recruit and facilitate instability within communities. Although young people will be disproportionately affected by threats to peace and security, they also have the most potential to impact on these challenges and have an essential role to play in building sustainable peace and development. In particular, they possess the greatest potential to effectively utilise new technologies and social media for the promotion of social cohesion and peacebuilding, especially at local and community levels.
Numbering 1.8 billion, today’s youth demographic is the largest the world has ever known; so ensuring the active, systematic, and meaningful participation of young people in issues of peace and security is a demographic imperative. It is also a way of preventing their marginalization and engagement in armed conflict. It is essential that their actual contribution and further potential should be valued, recognized and supported as a key to shaping lasting peace and contributing to justice, reconciliation and economic prosperity.