Most young Africans are optimistic about their long-term future

By our News Team | 2022

Covid and economic instability have created short-term pessimism, but over two thirds think they will lead better lives than their parents.

Africa’s youth are less optimistic about the future of their countries than they were two years ago – and they are even more pessimistic if they live in Rwanda, Kenya or South Africa. They are only slightly more positive about the continent’s future as a whole.

Covid, the economy and instability all play a role in the drop in sentiment, followed very closely by worries about corruption, the standard of education and the availability of decent jobs. Over seventy percent are scared they won’t be able to buy their own homes. Three quarters of them believe owning land is vital for their financial wellbeing.

Youth Sentiment

Photo by Ninara via Wikimedia Commons

But despite all of that, 77% of Africans between the ages of 18 and 24 believe their lives will improve in the next two years. More than two-thirds are convinced they will lead better lives than their parents. They are determined to control their own destiny. Two-thirds of them will marry later than their parents did, while 72% intend having less children.

This is according to a study conducted by the Ichikowitz Family Foundation, which promotes the preservation of Africa’s heritage, the conservation of its environment and the empowerment of Africa’s youth.

Three-quarters aim to start their own business

The study found that three-quarters of young people intend to start their own businesses, even if access to capital remains a major barrier for most of them. Technology will play a major part of those start-ups, just as it does in their current lives. Wi-Fi is seen as a basic human right, although two-thirds of African youth find it very expensive.

They are switched on about geopolitics and see China as the most influential – and positive – player on the continent, followed in descending order by the US, the AU, the EU, the WTO and the UK. But there is also a growing negative sentiment about China and foreign companies who extract the continent’s raw materials without properly reinvesting in the countries where they are taking it from. More than a third of South Africans, Ugandans and Ethiopians see foreign influence as negative.

These are among the highlights from the second edition of the foundation’s African Youth Survey.

“In a continent that is often wracked by violence, dominated by patriarchy and divided by xenophobia, it is heartening to discover how 83% of the respondents are concerned about ethnic minorities, with as many again concerned about gender-based violence and 64% believing that their countries have a duty to assist refugees,” said foundation Chairman, Ivor Ichikowitz.

“It is always said that Africa’s greatest resource is not her treasure trove of minerals, but rather the treasure trove of people. Africa Youth Survey 2022 bears this out – and that’s great news for those us who truly believe in making the African Century a reality in our lifetime.”