By Angela Warimu
As another great year begins, the challenges for African youth remain very real and urgent. Arranged in no particular order is a list of the top ten wishes that any African youth identifies with and will undoubtedly be top on their 2014 wish list.
- Employment; in a continent with such immense potential; unemployment remains a thorn in the flesh. Over half of the over 200 million youth in Africa are unemployed. More and more youth will be hoping for better times this New Year.
- Political Stability; 2013 had seen further political instability as compared to 2012. Mali, Central Africa Republic, South Sudan, Somalia and Egypt are examples of countries that have faced turbulent political times. In 2014, many youth will be praying for political restoration in their countries and we shall all be praying for lasting stability in the continent.
- Security; From terror attacks, coup d’états, religious/ tribal intolerance, to general crime, there is no country that has proved to be truly safe. The rise of militia and sectarian groups is a source for worry for all. Most of all insecurity in the continent is perpetuated by the youth and as 2014 starts, we need this youth to be engaged in better causes.
- Servant Leadership; In the New Year, every African youth shares the desire to have and maintain true servant hood in leadership. Leaders who will steer a countries forward while maintaining an atmosphere of unity. The youth will also be hoping for more leadership opportunities for them.
- Infrastructure; lack of the right infrastructure has been a major barrier to development especially for SMEs who would like to further intra African trade, increase exports and move goods. For 2014, the majority of startups owned by youth will be hoping for development in telecommunication, transport and internet access.
- Quality Education; For the New Year, more and more youth will be hoping for opportunities to further their studies and receive exposure in the areas of their passion. We shall also be hoping that governments will review curriculums and improve the quality of education.
- Environmental Protection; The increase of poaching, clearing of forest land, climate change effects, and improper waste management is a ticking bomb in Africa. Looking towards the future, we shall be working harder to care for our environment.
- Financial Education; For the few youth with a regular or secure income, more youth will be seeking ways to improve their financial intelligence and invest better for the sake of their future. Saving, Investments and risk taking, will seek support in that regard.
- Access To Technology; Use and access to better technology that is cheaper, more efficient and more productive in the areas of manufacture, operations and transport is a wish for most youth. We hope that government will reduce the cost for tech imports and promote innovations further.
- Cultural Identity; We hope that this year will see the continued growth of television and internet content from Africa that Africans can culturally identify with. We hope that there will be a rise in African pride and acceptance, that more books, music and poetry will be read and played on mainstream media.
Despite the challenges we face, we are glad that every year is a new dawn towards the future we want. Happy New Year!