- I shared that the future of Africa is in its youth and if they are not taken care of, they will be a disaster for the continent.
- I gave an example of the 2010 Arab Spring that began in Tunisia in response to corruption and economic stagnation.
A couple of years ago, I was invited to speak in South Africa about the future of the African continent.
I shared that the future of Africa is in its youth and if they are not taken care of, they will be a disaster for the continent.
I gave an example of the 2010 Arab Spring that began in Tunisia in response to corruption and economic stagnation.
I said if the African governments are not able to take care of its citizens, especially the youth, we will see chaos.
That was like seven years ago.
Arab Spring-like revolution comes in different dimensions.
We saw what happened in Egypt in 2013 where 22 million signatures were collected to push for ousting of President Mohamed Morsi over authoritarianism and economic meltdown.
Recently, we have seen successful coups in Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Sudan, Niger, and this week in Gabon.
In West African countries, youth are the ones taking over power forcefully and the masses are celebrating.
When the youth are feeling disfranchised, they become a bombshell.
I recently talked to my friend, Vera Songwe, the former Head of United Nation’s Economic Commission for Africa, about the impact of COVID-19 on the youth.
I told Vera, if leaders will not be able to address this economic pain caused by Covid-19, there will be forced regime change in Africa by the masses led by young people.
We have now seen what is happening in West Africa.
The masses are celebrating when the military takes over power.
When you see citizens celebrating and wanting to be under military rule rather than civilian rule, it means there is a big problem.
What is happening in West Africa should serve as a lesson to leaders in East Africa to watch out and start programs to empower communities on the ground.
When you look at the coups happening, they are led by young people. The youth are taking over Africa.
Can we really stop this? Yes! We can do this by sharing the national cake equally.
If a youth knows he or she can go to school and get a job, if they see taxes being used well, then they have no reason to cause a revolution.
But if they see their leaders speaking loosely as if they are the god of the country, then they are forced to think of an alternative to protect their future and the nation.
The only way a country can grow is by creating jobs.
If we create jobs for the youth, then we will have a progressive Africa. But if few leaders care about amassing wealth for themselves, we are all going to lose.
Recently, I saw how people are withdrawing their savings from Saccos.
That tells you there is a problem. When people are not able to feed themselves, it shows there is a real crisis.
I know we are all wondering about what is happening in West Africa, but let us not be judgemental.
Let us diagnose the real problem. Is it a wave that is happening, or there is a socio-economic issue behind it?
But we can all agree that people are really feeling like they have been pinned down.
That is what the masses share in common across these countries. They also share celebrations when military rule takes over.
Who celebrates when a junta takes over a country?
None! But the masses in these countries are saying we better be under the rule of the military than civilian rule that only serves a few people.
They have reached a point where they are saying, Enough is enough!
It is a lesson for us to learn.
We the people believe in democracy and the rule of law.
These juntas felt the mood of the countries and found a loophole.
Will we be better under the juntas? Not likely.
But what we know is that we cannot be happy under a civilian rule that is enriching a few people.
Dr. Kennedy Odede, is the founder and CEO of Shofco, a member of USAid Advisory Board, World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, multiple humanitarian award winner, including 2022 Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year, best-selling author. Twitter @KennedyOdede