In 1999, the UN officially declared August 12th to International Youth Day. The idea behind this was to draw more attention to the youth as a part of life with all its changes and to the youngsters themselves with their potentials, hopes and desires. Not only to accept them as a new hope for a better tomorrow, but also to recognize their existence in the here and now. August 12th is therefore a perfect day to turn our gaze to earth’s “youngest continent” – Africa. 70 percent of the 1.1 billion Africans (700 million) are young people at the age of 15 between 25 – with hopes, visions, talents and potentials.

It is just great, how many possibility this offers for expanding more usable economic structures on the continent. Especially, since experts predict that the populations will more than double by 2050 (2.4 billion). Unfortunately, approximately half of those young people remain permanently without proper education or out of work. To sum up, about 385 million Africans, whose potentials are NOT developed or used even by some extent. Young people who can’t develop their skills will sooner or later pursuit their fortune elsewhere – in the hope to improve their situation. Therefore they often become economic refugees and set out with only little measures, but high hopes – often to Europe.

The most frequently asked question is how to tackle this situation – even here in Europe – and how to encounter those young people. Integrate? Train them and send them back home? Create better preconditions in the home countries? How?

One option would be to establish potential entrepreneurships directly in Africa, so that they don’t have to leave their homes in the first place. There are already some good examples in place where international business investors develop the ideas of the locals and support their development in the long run. Especially young people get the chance to participate as part of the economy in their countries and to create a new base for more development, new sources of income and a better perspective.

All this is only possible with a solid base, scope for development and – most of all, money. From where do these financial contributions come from, which expectations are linked to them, how much freedom is necessary to develop an entrepreneurship within someone’s own possibilities? This is exactly what the International Day of Youth on August 12th has been standing for since 1999: Recognize and develop young people’s potential all around the globe and perceive them as the most important foundation for a strong future for everybody.

Even for Africa!

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