Youth Policy and the Future of African Development
One of the greatest challenges facing governments and policymakers in Africa today is how to provide opportunities for the continent’s more than 200 million youth so that they can have decent lives and contribute to the economic development of their countries. According to the United Nations (2012), Africa’s 2011 population was estimated at 1.05 billion and is expected to double by 2050. Africa is the youngest continent in the world: About 70 percent of its population is 30 years of age or younger. In 2011, youth, who are defined here as those between 15 and 24 years of age, constituted 21 percent of the more than 1 billion people in Africa, whereas another 42 percent was less than 15 years old. Slightly more than half of the African youth population is female, and there are more rural dwellers than urban dwellers. With such a large proportion under 15 years of age, Africa’s youth population is expected to grow in the years to come while the youth population in other parts of the world shrinks.