Reflections on the hope of Africa’s youth.
Africa has the youngest population of any continent – nearly 60% of its population is under the age of 25. In a country like Niger, the average age is just 15 years! One of the main reasons for Africa’s young population, is the continent’s high fertility rates, combined with declining child mortality.
Having such a young population leads to both challenges and opportunities. Youth carries with it potential for innovation, creativity and productivity. But if the hope of youth is deferred, it can lead to restlessness and violence.
Africa’s young population could lead to a “window of opportunity” for rapid economic growth for the continent. However, unemployment is one of the biggest challenges facing Africa’s youth.
A recent World Bank survey found that around 40% of young people who join rebel movements, describe unemployment as their main reason for joining these groups. And disillusioned young people have been a source of political unrest in many African countries.
In the face of economic hardship and disempowering politics, many young people in Africa are at a crossroads. They are looking for direction and leadership. At AE, our hope is to present the Gospel in a way that is relevant to them. Our Foxfires youth programs share the message of Jesus, and provide role models that young people can relate to, while our vocational training programs provide youth with viable career paths.
Caroline Mutheu, assistant supervisor of the Foxfires youth programs, explains that,
“Bringing the love of Jesus helps youth make the right choices… And right choices affect our destiny.”
The destiny that God speaks over Africa is one of hope. The only hope that has the power to transform a young person – or a continent. Jesus.
“For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth.” (Psalm 71:5)