COVID-19 Can Create A Lost Generation Of African Youth

From the end of 2019 to 2020, my charitable foundation conducted its own research in 14 African countries. A study designed to scientifically measure and track the attitudes, ambitions and concerns of young people on the continent that collectively form the world’s largest youth demographics. In the process, it generated data that did not otherwise exist and rang the bells of other parts of the world about the current and future trajectory of the Global North and Global South.

At that time, two-thirds (65%) of the more than 4,200 respondents to our survey suggested that we were facing the dawn of the African century, and 72% were their economic future. He reported that he was confident in his work and revealed an incredible “African optimism”. It struck the world suddenly.

In fact, despite facing varying degrees of suffering, including wars and conflicts, political corruption, lack of employment opportunities, and access to globally competitive education, the majority of the voters voted for them. It was reported that he believed that his future was in Africa.

The numbers support their feelings. Africa’s GDP growth is projected to accelerate to 4.0% in 2019 and further 4.1% in 2020. Improvements in economic development across Africa are projected to be widespread, although they vary from economy to economy.

The future looked bright. But that was the time. COVID-19 is now.

Despite our future potential as the world’s geographical, commercial and political power, Africa faces diverse and escalating challenges, each exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our population of 1.3 billion has experienced a third wave of infections since May, burdening those at the forefront of all of Africa, the continent with the least amount of vaccines and the weakest health care system. I’m wearing it.

The virus, in contrast to the Global North and Global South, continues to dramatically exacerbate the already imbalanced situation of extreme poverty. And what’s worse? The 2021 African Youth Survey, currently being edited, suggests that COVID-19 will continue to disrupt Africa’s orbit and force us to continue to be at the mercy of former colonial powers and emerging superpowers. I am. Our “Generation-19” will be a lost generation if you do so.

Let’s look at the facts. According to our survey, nearly 40% of young people have surprisingly suspended their education with COVID-19. A dire situation in a highly competitive global environment. To date, UNICEF reports, for example, that approximately 70 million people across East and Southern Africa are currently out of school.

As a socio-economic impact of the pandemic, 2 out of 10 (19%) were unemployed. An ongoing pandemic forced 18% to go home and 1 in 10 (7%) to enter the informal economy and pay invoices. We also need to consider this in the context that most of this demographic was not adopted in the first place.

Our African Youth Survey further revealed that fake news and false information about COVID-19 is widespread and perpetuates its spread. More than half (58%) of polls believe that the death toll reported so far by the press has been exaggerated on further political agendas, with 65% saying that the virus was deliberately spread. Suggests. Four in ten (37%) believe that young people are immune to the disease, and 34% claim that 5G technology contributes to the spread of COVID-19.

The most tragic finding of all: Today, 39% of African youth suggest rejecting the COVID-19 vaccine when given the opportunity.

In my view, this is the biggest concern. Therefore, our study shows that even if vaccine supply and logistical challenges are overcome, people need to be convinced to be vaccinated.

Until all of us are safe, none of us in Africa or around the world is safe. Unvaccinated Africa is dangerous to itself and to other parts of the world.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported last week that access to vaccines on our continent has tripled, but there is still much work to be done to convince citizens to vaccinate. ..

This huge information gap needs to be addressed through effective, continent-wide public information and education campaigns. If we do not deal with the spread of fake news viruses, our government will take a lot of responsibility for the threat of the lost generation.

WHO, AU, United Nations, African government, health authorities, along with vaccine manufacturers, and, importantly, the media educate young people and adults, vaccination, it is safety and efficacy, and false information And to counter fake news.

Religious groups are important influencers in Africa, and our research shows that they are the most trusted leaders on the African continent. Therefore, it is imperative that the African government and public health agencies develop a multi-layered approach to vaccine hesitation. This includes working with faith-based groups and community gatekeepers to reach vulnerable groups.

Global companies such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp are not responsible for dealing with fake news or conspiracy theories. There is no doubt that fake news is skyrocketing with these platforms. Young people, especially young Africans, are more vulnerable to false information about COVID-19.

Today, social media is the second largest source of news for young Africans. Therefore, Facebook can no longer claim that its business model is “helping friends stay in touch with each other.” It is now being used to disseminate large amounts of false information threatening the social and economic future of our continent.

Social media companies need to take the lead in promoting accurate messages about COVID-19 on their platforms and do so at their own expense. They have a moral obligation to do so. It’s also a great opportunity to show you how to make good use of the platform.

If we don’t address the challenges created by fake news, we’ll get sick and stay sick, and Africa’s 21st century is the dream of our brightest, best, and invisible generation. Will continue to be.

There is an unprecedented urgency to address these cracks, as reflected in the streets of South Africa in recent months. But we must see this moment as an opportunity to deal with the long-standing division of growth and infrastructure constraints. It is the responsibility of all of us to face the opportunity to raise the continent to a higher, more comprehensive and sustainable path of growth.

Creating lasting change is in our hands. I have no time to lose.

Ivor Ichikowitz is an African businessman and philanthropist, sponsor of the annual acclaimed African Youth Survey (AYS), and the 100 most influential Africans in New Africa in 2020. One of the people.

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