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This is why Africa’s Human Resource is the World’s Greatest Resource

This is why Africa’s Human Resource is the World’s Greatest Resource

Africa's youthful demographics represent a wellspring of human potential - young people brimming with vitality, eager to pursue their callings and author their destinies. When this youthful spirit fuses with the time-honored African values of family, community and sustainability, it catalyzes a powerful social force that cannot be stopped.

In the corridors of power across the globe, a silent revolution is brewing—one that is reshaping the very fabric of societies. The West, Japan, and China find themselves at the precipice of a population crisis, a demographic dilemma that threatens to erode the foundations of their economies and societies. This crisis, characterized by declining birth rates and an aging population, has forced these nations to resort to desperate measures such as offering childbirth allowances to parents and tapping into Africa's burgeoning youth population to fill labor gaps.

In 2022, Italy recorded just 393,000 births. In the same year, 1.2 million babies were born in Kenya. Yet Italy’s population is higher than Kenya by almost five million. The last time Italy recorded such a baby boom was sixty years ago in 1964. Given this scenario, Italy’s population is projected to drop from 59 million to 48 million by 2070. This has triggered a panic mode in the Italian Government, which now gives parents monthly allowances ranging from $55 – $190, dependent on household incomes – for each child from birth until age 21.

Eugenia Maria Roccella is Italy’s Minister for family, birth rates and equal opportunities. She is a 1970s-era feminist and abortion rights activist who is now championing motherhood and family. Unfortunately, some Italians, like Agriculture Minister Francesco Lollobrigida are touting parenthood as a means of tackling imminent ‘ethnic replacement.’ They are threatened by the increasing arrivals of immigrants from Africa.

Meanwhile, for the first time in six decades, China’s population has started shrinking, hitting 1.425 billion 2023 and falling behind India's 1.428 billion population. Cities like Hangzhou, an eastern tech hub home to Alibaba, are providing substantial one-time cash subsidies of around $2,800 to families having a third child. In Germany, as per an updated 2023 Child Policy, the Government will give parents $271 per month for each child, regardless of whether they are the first, second or third. Japan is also caught up in this money-for-babies quagmire. Japan, which has the world’s second oldest population after Monaco, will spend about $25 billion annually to curb falling birth rates. New parents will receive monthly allowances amounting to about for each child from newborn to two years old. Thereafter, parents will receive about $65 per month for children from the age of three until senior high school.

At the heart of this global narrative lies Africa, a continent whose greatest asset is not its vast natural resources or rich cultural heritage, but rather its young and dynamic population. With a median age of just under 20 years old, Africa stands in stark contrast to the graying populations of the West and Asia. This demographic dividend, if harnessed effectively, has the potential to catapult Africa into a position of unparalleled economic and social prominence on the world stage.

The West, once the epicenter of economic power and innovation, now finds itself grappling with the consequences of an aging population. From dwindling workforce participation to strained social welfare systems, the implications of this demographic shift are profound. In a bid to address these challenges, Western nations have turned their gaze towards Africa, viewing its youthful labor force as a lifeline for their economies.

Germany has historically excelled in technical innovation and manufacturing, but it now faces the challenge of an aging population, which could impact its economy by straining the pension system and causing prolonged inflationary pressures. That’s why on May 6th 2023, the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited Kenya and together with Kenya’s President William Ruto, signed a workforce deal between Kenya and Germany. As per the deal, Germany is ready to absorb a staggering 250,000 professional, skilled and semi-skilled Kenyan workers. While the prospect of a quarter a million Kenyans finding jobs in Germany is good news for Kenya, it is actually better news for Germany. They are opening their arms to embrace Kenyan workers because they have to, not because they really want to do so.

Germany is undergoing a labor crisis. It has Europe’s most aging population. There is a huge gap between Germans born from 1950 to 1970 and those born in the 1990s, who are roughly half of the older Germans.

This demographic disparity is drilling a humongous hole in Germany's pension and social insurance funds. Over the next 15 years, 13 million German workers will leave the labor market. There simply aren’t enough Germans to take up their jobs. That’s why Germany needs an average 0f 400,000 new immigrant workers annually.

Do you now see how Kenya is in fact bailing out Germany, more than Germany is bailing out Kenya?

Similarly, China and Japan, faced with their own demographic time bombs, have begun to look beyond their borders for solutions. China, with its one-child policy legacy and rapidly aging population, has been investing heavily in African infrastructure projects and forging partnerships aimed at harnessing Africa's demographic dividend. Japan, too, has recognized the importance of Africa's youth, establishing initiatives to promote investment and cooperation in key sectors such as technology and education.

However, amidst this global scramble for Africa's youth, questions of exploitation and sustainability loom large. African governments must tread carefully, ensuring that partnerships with foreign nations prioritize mutual benefit and long-term development rather than short-term gains. Investments in education, healthcare, and job creation must take center stage, empowering African youth to become the architects of their own destiny.

The narrative of Africa's youth as the world's greatest resource is not just a fanciful idea; it is a tangible reality with profound implications. As the West, China, and Japan grapple with the specter of a gray and underpopulated future, Africa stands poised to lead the charge towards a brighter tomorrow. It is incumbent upon African leaders to seize this moment, to invest mightily in their youth, and to harness the continent's immense power in solving the global human resource crisis. The time for Africa's youth to shine has arrived, and the world must take notice.

Africa's youthful demographics represent a wellspring of human potential - young people brimming with vitality, eager to pursue their callings and author their destinies. When this youthful spirit fuses with the time-honored African values of family, community and sustainability, it catalyzes a powerful social force that cannot be stopped.

Indeed, Africa's path to explosive economic ascendance is being illuminated by the twin forces of its burgeoning youth and the rejuvenation of Afro-centric thought and value systems.  In post-colonial Africa, the workforce was reduced to dispensable commodities, not thought leaders who could conceptualize and enforce solutions. Africa’s youthful workforce must walk away from such passivity. Its no wonder millions of African youth can only see jobs beyond the Mediterranean, on the hallowed shores of Europe, their Promised Land.

Kwasi Wiredu, the pre-eminent African philosopher from Ghana has a parting shot that can galvanize Africa’s powerful youth workforce into a solution-oriented mentality.

Central to Wiredu's teachings was the importance of harnessing Africa's communal values and consensus-based decision making as profound strengths. This philosophy of communitarianism emphasizes the mutual solidarity and interdependence of individuals within the collective. When applied to the unprecedented youth bulge sweeping across the continent, it can catalyze transformative economic empowerment.

With over 60% of Africans under the age of 25, Africa boasts the most youthful population on earth. This represents an ocean of human vitality and boundless imagination waiting to be channeled productively. Infused with the Afro-centric ethos of community-minded cooperation and consensus, this new generation can coalesce into an economic force multiplier.

Youth unleashed within a value system prioritizing group prosperity over insular self-interest can propel pan-African collaboration and resource sharing in ways that accelerate trade, entrepreneurship, skills exchange and economic integration. The reciprocal mindset paves the way for open source technology development, knowledge sharing networks, and joint ventures combining complementary capabilities across borders.

Furthermore, Wiredu's afro-centric teachings provide a philosophical framework for careful study and adoption of beneficial foreign ideas and technologies - without subjugation to alien value impositions. With this mindset, Africa's youth can pragmatically embrace innovations like AI, renewable energy and advanced manufacturing - seamlessly merging them with Afro-centric principles to solve the continent's unique challenges.

When equipped with the confidence to amplify their ingenuity through the lens of their own epistemologies, the possibilities for Africa's youth become boundless. Long suppressed under the residual effects of oppressive colonial structures, a reawakened allegiance to Afro-centric communitarian thinking can unlock the economic liberation to turn Africa's gargantuan youth potential into sustained human and capital prosperity.

The way forward passes through Africa's reclamation of its knowledge systems as the foundational spark for modern progress. With its young people as the atmospheric tinder, that spark can ignite an economic renaissance.
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