Africa Diary
Africa Diary

An African-Indian Alliance Harnessing the Potential of Youth

The powers that be of various African countries shall have to focus on tapping into their diaspora wealth, by this I mean the young minds which have migrated to other parts of the world for education and skill acquisition. According to a report by the Association of African studies in India (AASI) there have been over 56 thousand students admitted into universities across India.

As documented, the origin of human civilisation has always been Africa. It is believed that the Continent and its closest ally India become a force for achieving more by bridging the gaps in today’s modern civilisation. This will undoubtedly happen because of the young population in both the continent of Africa and in the sub-continent of India. However, there is a need for a stronger will to drive this development of south south cooperation and respect bearing in mind the demographical relationship and prowess between African and Indian youthful minds. Youth is the backbone of any society, and with 65 percent of each of our population being well within the ‘youth’ age group, so much can be achieved if this attribute is properly harnessed.

Though Africa–India ties go back a long way and there has been much trade, military ties, capacity building, and investments; there has been less people to people contact and socio-cultural exchange in terms of bilateral cooperation.

It is important to note that since the 8th century Africans have been migrating to India and this is a major reason for the closeness that exists in the relationship today. There are also similar challenges as youth inclusion in governance, policy formulation, decision making and leadership is minimal in both regions. The good thing, however, is those young people from both regions have been able to connect with each other while paving the way forward; this is due to India being a member country of the Africa-Asia Youth Foundation (AAYFO) an iNGO headquartered in Nigeria; as well as the inclusion of African Affairs in the Indian Institute of Governance and Leadership (IIGL) in India. Amongst the many conversations between these vibrant youths is the stay of Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa between 1893 and 1915 and how that has influenced modern day political relations between various African countries and India; further the fact that India, on the attainment of independence from colonial rule supported and promoted the same initiative for various African states. Africa has as well, stood side by side with India on various global issues thus reflecting a fundamental aspect of mutual cooperation born out of understanding and a long time friendship.

Africa and India need to assist each other in youth development, capacity building and project implementation; this gives India the lead in tapping into an exchange of knowledge and the material resources the continent of Africa is blessed with.

As part of our resolve, we seek Government’s support to initiate ‘Youth 2 Business’ forum wherein African and Indian youths can meet, exchange business ideas and build a much better bond; create employability and help develop our growing economies. On the basis of fostering youth cooperation, cultural appreciation and joint celebrations annually we may establish a platform which will help identify the potential of our young members and promote causes in line with our joint aspirations.

The powers that be of various African countries shall have to focus on tapping into their diaspora wealth, by this I mean the young minds which have migrated to other parts of the world for education and skill acquisition. According to a report by the Association of African studies in India (AASI) there have been over 56 thousand students admitted into universities across India.

Considering the number, surveying other countries would be interesting and would reveal the huge potential the continent is residing abroad.

As the President of Ghana H.E. Nana Akufo Addo mentioned in a speech that this is the ‘Year of Return’ – the clarion call for the return of African diaspora to help develop the Motherland would be a joy.

The huge investments of the Indian Government and Indian businesses can fructify when the African diaspora is properly involved in the execution of national projects as there would be a certain level of perfection and standard considering the expertise achieved and attained.

The African Union Youth Envoy Aya Chebbi recently under the AU leadership launched the ‘One Million Youth for Africa’ campaign and is focusing on sustainability in line with the AU Agenda 2063; similar initiatives such as this are to be promoted in Africa. The AU should have an African Youth envoy in India and in other strategic parts of the world to promote the ideas and agendas of these young ambassadors.

The Confederation of Youth Leaders (CYL) established the Indian Institute of Governance and Leadership (IIGL) with the department of African Affairs which is in line with the objective of the Indian Government; thus creating the right atmosphere for youth involvement in policy making, governance and international relations. The fact that leadership constraints militate growth of various countries, it is indeed necessary to have similar institutions in various African countries and by doing so create for the youth a re-defined platform for purposes of learning and involvement in decision-making processes.

It is interesting to note that the Indian Government generates millions of dollars from Africa and with the growing patronage, due to migration to India, of Indian services in the fields of education, medicine, tourism and other business, Africans are major players in the building of the Indian economy. From a survey carried out by the Africa-India Youth Foundation (AAYFO) if Africans begin to work and run businesses in India, if their skills get utilised properly, the growth of the Indian economy may be tripled, and will help the Africans gain experience and equip themselves before returning to build a better Africa, and India can attain a successful position as a valued player in Africa’s growth.

Government sponsored Youth Exchange Programmes between various African countries and India can go a long way in building and fostering a stronger and sustainable bond, and when harnessed can pull the economies of Africa and India to a very elevated position. Youth-led non-government organisations and civil societies also have roles to play and must collaborate on mutual platforms for the betterment of both regions. The strategy should be first to identify the potential of these youths, followed by the grouping of categories and then by promoting each group. It would be too much to say what the world at large could benefit from such investment.

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Diplomatist Magazine was launched in October of 1996 as the signature magazine of L.B. Associates (Pvt) Ltd, a contract publishing house based in Noida, a satellite town of New Delhi, India, the National Capital.

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