By Yaw Ansah, GNA, Courtesy European
Addis Ababa, (Ethiopia) Nov. 7, GNA – A Civil Society Consortium working to popularise the African Charter for Democracy, Elections, and Governance (ACDEG) has expressed grave concern about the rate at which Africa is losing its brilliant, strong, and talented youth through regular and irregular migration to the west.
According to the Coalition, the trend that had become frequent, largely due to the failure of African governments to develop their countries, put in place the right systems, provide jobs to the teeming youth and reduce the corruption cankerworm.
Mr Buba Khan, Africa Advocacy Advisor of ActionAid International, which is a member of the Consortium, said; “Even though migration is a choice, if the youth have more opportunities in their various countries, it will reduce the numbers moving out to Europe to seek greener pastures.”
Mr Khan said this at the opening of the Consortium’s engagements in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, ahead of the Permanent Representatives’ Committee meeting.
With support from the European Commission, Members of the Consortium are engaging with their respective ambassadors on the need to give prominence to the ratification and domestication of the provisions of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) ahead of the Africa Union summit in January 2019.
The AGA and ACDEG are provisions motivated by the Constitutive Act of the African Union (AU), which sets out international standards of good governance and democracy.
They include issues of ensuring human and people’s rights, consolidating democratic institutions and culture and ensuring good governance, the rule of law, free and fair elections, and condemning the unconstitutional changes of government.
Mr Khan stated that the African continent was endowed with both human and natural resource but its leaders had not been able to find the right approaches to harnessing these resources effectively and efficiently to create job and wealth for its people.
“We are losing our resources to corruption and illicit financial flows,” he stated. “These could have been used to undertake more developmental projects to improve the lives of people.”
Ms Abigail Larbi Odei, Programs Manager at Media Foundation for West Africa, another member of the Consortium, also attributed the migration-taking place within and outside of many African countries to the growing frustration and despondency among the youth.
“Majority of them feel disappointed – basic social amenities are non-existent or very poor,” she said.
“For instance, during elections, the youth are mobilised and deployed heavily for many different activities. At the end of the day, when the elected officials assume power, the policies initiated to address youth empowerment are limited or not empowering enough to make them independent.
“So you find people, especially graduates, still depending on their families after completing school. With very little job opportunities - the next thing they think about is travelling abroad to the urban centres or even to the West to engage in menial jobs to make some money for themselves.”
“Given the fact that they are the future of our nations, Ms Larbi-Odei said, “It is time for politicians to stop engaging in rhetoric and act to create and expand economic opportunities for the youth.
“This is linked to our advocacy about the need for our governments to ratify and domesticate the ACDEG, a profound commitment when implemented by the member states could lead to the development of member countries, strengthen institutions and social service provision, which will reduce the appetite of people migrating out of the continent.”
Ms Lillian Alex, Programmes Officer at East Africa Civil Society Organisation Forum, (EACSOF) said one of the reasons why the youth migrated from East Africa was political unrest.
She urged East African governments, especially those of Burundi and Southern Sudan, to implement the ACDEG and AGA to ensure good governance towards creating a conducive environment for their citizenry.
The 14-member civil society Consortium is made up of Media Foundation for West Africa, East the Southern African Development Community (SADC), EACSOF, West Africa Civil Society Forum and ActionAid of Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe and Tanzania.GNA