I am writing this article in response to our administrator’s request for me to give particular excerpts from the book Why Nations Fail to our groups in an online course – Future of Work in Africa: Innovations in Youth Employment- that i am part of.
There is no dispute Africa is Rising, but the question we must ask ourselves is whether Africa will rise with her own people. According to a World Bank report that we considered in the course, there are high prospect for Africa Development. The continent can take advantage of Youth Bulge phenomenon to grow to unprecedented levels.
However,Youth Bulge phenomenon can also be a disaster for the continent if keen interest will not be paid to key issues that have proved to be detrimental to the development of societies over time.
Key among the issues that hinder development is creation of extraction institutions as documented in book i have mentioned Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson.
While reading through the book, the stack difference between the lives of the people of North Korea and South Korea amazed me ,for sure it is a testimony of what policies and politics can do. The Authors have critically explained how differences are as a result of leadership styles adopted by the leaders after the cold war of 1945. For instance,South Korea led by Syngman Rhee, a Harvard educated economist who was an anti-communist and his successor General Park Chung –Hee, with the help of the United States, they established Inclusive institutions that inspired people to value education and investment while North Korea leadership was taken by Kim II- sung a communist and anti-Japanese established -extractive institutions -a rigid form of centrally planned economy a system they called Juche system (page 71-73). 50 years later the difference is conspicuous.
Over 4 decades ago, most African countries gained independence from colonialists, for instance at independence Kenya had the same GDP as Singapore, but now the contrast between Kenya and Singapore is unimaginable. Now, in Kenya where i am writing from, we are going through struggles with myriad social challenges including what we are discussing about in our course – challenges and opportunities for youth employment in Africa.
The questions is what went wrong? I have an idea, through the many literature i have consulted -from From third world to first by Lee Kuan Yew,the Former Prime Minister of Singapore to Nelson Mandela –Long Walk to freedom; creation of better environment is the secret to development.creation of inclusive in institutions like those in Singapore ,South Korea and Botswana in Africa, it has been proved that they encourage saving, investing and innovating that in the long run foster development.
So how do we overcome challenges and exploit opportunities for employment in Africa? we have to start creating the environment that will foster saving investing and innovating. how? we have to be involved in creation of inclusive institutions. And this must happen massively if we are to experience considerable development.
Friends let me trouble you to look at this article Obama’s views on what shapes great leaders by Mike Eldon which was published in the Business Daily in Kenya on 28/04/206. Eldon in his article Quotes Obama , saying that it is the work of social activist to highlight where there are anomalies that hamper development –“They must make noise, shine the spotlight, get crazy even, to get attention,” Obama continued , “However,once the policy-makers have agreed to meet; you must stop screaming and come with an achievable agenda.”
Yes! Africa is full of opportunities , but i feel what what Obama said is we should focus on as youths, we should shine spotlight at crooked institutions that have been created by elites who are selfish and keen of creating hegemony. But when given opportunity we should sober up to engage policy makers on what is possible.
“We should take advantage of the digital economy ” said Alain Founder of GiftedMom from Cameroon , and we must be in love with solving the social problems we are facing. I believe this are the ingredients for writing a new history page for Africa.Finally as youths we must be willing to engage in productive partnership and collaboration in order to solve this complex puzzle of youth unemployment in Africa..