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Young Africans Embrace Mugabe's Development Calls, Task Leaders for Action

Young Africans have welcomed calls by President Robert Mugabe that African nations should increase development programs for stopping young people from migrating to other countries.

But youth say African leaders must be forthcoming with such efforts.

Mr. Mugabe said this last week after the tabling of the 2015 report by African Union’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) agency, tasked with transforming the continent.

According to the report, “the necessary political determination has been renewed by African leaders to deliver the accelerated implementation of the NEPAD Programme under the African Union (AU).”

The agency placed rising youth unemployment and migration at the top of its development agenda.

Marufu Mandevere, a Herbert Humphrey fellow studying law and human rights at American University in Washington D.C., said development is key in retaining Africa’s youth, but African leaders must be prepared to move forth with sustainable initiatives.

“We really need young people to assist in African youth development, but Africa as we said has got a lot to do to keep those young people within the borders because people are moving to look for greener pastures. People are moving to look for good education,” said Mandevere.

He said the challenge is that many young people migrating to other nations is a result of the actions by their own leaders.

“If there is a serious commitment for job creation, respect especially of the youth, serious investment and infrastructure, Africa can retain their youth and do seriously progressive projects.”

And with millions of youth in Zimbabwe jobless, Mandevere like other critics says African leaders must prove development through action.

NEPAD pointed out that of the 1.1 billion people living in Africa, are under the age of 25, and while the youth constitute 40% of the working age, 60% of them remain jobless.

Under its proposed youth employment program, the program will aim to enhance the engagement of youth in gainful employment and dedicated focus on building skills.

NEPAD expects to target other areas of development in the context of the African Union 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals.