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YOUTH VULNERABILITY AND EXCLUSION IN AFRICA PowerPoint Presentation
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YOUTH VULNERABILITY AND EXCLUSION IN AFRICA

YOUTH VULNERABILITY AND EXCLUSION IN AFRICA

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YOUTH VULNERABILITY AND EXCLUSION IN AFRICA

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  1. YOUTH VULNERABILITY AND EXCLUSION IN AFRICA GOVERNANCE FOR DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL, SOAS-CDD, GHANA 09/0513 Presentation by ’Funmi Olonisakin

  2. MEANING/USE OF KEY PHRASES • Youth in Africa – people between 15 and 35 • Youth bulge – predominance of young people in the population. • Exclusion – “left out” or “kept out” from a range of activities and spheres in mainstream life; relegation to the “edge of society” • Vulnerability – a risk of falling into disadvantaged, or “dangerous” places, relegation or slide into oblivion

  3. KEY ARGUMENTS • Youth exclusion and vulnerability stall development and entrench insecurity • Unemployment is not the real issue nor is employment a panacea • The “youth bulge” offers an opportunity as well as a challenge for development and security • Perception of youth only in negative ways – extremists, violent, radicalized – is damaging for development

  4. KEY MESSAGES • Youth: Engage socially constructed definitions • Some solutions lie at the “edge” of society • Unemployment does not offer adequate explanation for YOVEX; comparable access, living standards, participation in decision-making; societal recognition are also crucial • Global assessments of youth in sub-Saharan African must be placed in context e.g. see The Economist, 27 April 2013

  5. KEY MESSAGES • Warning: Dangerous intersections between youth bulge, youth exclusion & violence • Youth radicalization thrives at these intersections; radicalization here, is not necessarily constructed as a bad thing • Narratives that promote and sustain youth radicalization is led by dynamic non-mainstream voices; and doesn’t always produce violence

  6. KEY MESSAGES CONTD • Formal leadership lacks real understanding of the challenges of youth & transformation paths • The opportunity for transformation lies at “THE EDGE” of society outside of mainstream life

  7. TRENDS: YOUTH BULGE • Africa’s youth population will keep rising until 2050 • Population of 15-24 year olds will rise by more than 1/3rd to 275m by 2025. (Source: UN DESA/Pouplation Office) • National planning in many cases: misses rapid population rise

  8. TRENDS: YOUTH EXCLUSION • Resultant pressure on systems – creates exclusion of youth: poor access to education, health, decent jobs; lack of societal recognition • Youth seen “as risk” a threat to be addressed rather than a group “at risk” • Many youth “pushed” to the “edge” of the state • State approach is “top down”

  9. TRENDS: LIFE AT “THE EDGE” • The “edge” offers limitless possibilities opportunities & challenges • Informal processes and activities are the heartbeat of life at the edge: networks of social security, trade, creativity, risk • Mainstream and officialdom ignore the “edge” at their peril

  10. RESPONSE PATTERNS: WHO CARES? • State policies/ responses: More of the same: • focus only on formal and mainstream; • dismissive of the “informal” and of discourses at “the edge” • Reactive, defensive and unimaginative • The neglect of the important “intangibles” • Pitches one group of youth against another • Condemns and fears the unknown “edge”

  11. WHO CARES? NARRATIVES /DISCOURSES AT “THE EDGE” • Discourses at the edge: • Challenge conventional wisdom with radical ideas • Articulate legitimate grievances • See mainstream as the foe • Propose coping mechanisms • Create new/ alternative systems/ solutions • Promote creativity and innovation • Attract rogue elite; criminal networks – who hijack youth narratives of exclusion

  12. WHY “THE EDGE” MATTERS • The bulk of African society now gravitates toward the edge – and relishes its authenticity and opportunities • Informality at the edge captures the intangibles that hold solutions • But the value and strength of the edge is also its weakness: It is home to the “hijackers” of well intentioned, radical edge-thinking • It transmutes innocent radicalization into violence and brutality – sheer terror

  13. “THE EDGE”: AN OPPORTUNITY FOR TRANSFORMATION • Any serious effort to prevent violent extremism among Africa’s youth must seek to “demystify” life at the edge • Officialdom must travel to the edge, embrace the edge and its talents, decriminalize the edge • Knowledge of “who and what thrives at the edge”, whose narratives influence, counter the narratives that promote violent extremism is key

  14. DEMYSTIFYING THE EDGE • The hope for increased levels of stability social capital, trust and political participation requires: • Genuine connection between the formal and informal; tangibles and intangibles; and mainstream and edge – avoiding parallel systems • Societal recognition for genuine leaders at the edge • Demobilizing “youth veterans” at the edge through credible and meaningful “national service” • Commitment of the elite to invest in such a plan