The 2022 African Youth Survey (AYS) sponsored by Ichikowitz Family Foundation, a leading African foundation encouraging active citizenship across the continent, shows how young Africans plan on building a better future for themselves, their countries, and the continent that ties them together.
The Youth Survey of 4,500 face-to-face interviews with 18-24 year old’s revealed that African Youth are concerned about climate change:
– 78% are worried about increasing levels of pollution (Most concerned including Ghana – 92%, Ethiopia – 89% and Rwanda – 88%)
– 72% are highly concerned with the increasing frequency and severity of extreme environmental events (Top countries including Rwanda – 90%, Ghana – 89% and Ethiopia – 88%)
– 77% are concerned that climate change will lead to an increase in infestation and crop destruction from insects (Greatest concern expressed from Ethiopia – 91%, Malawi – 91% and Kenya 88%
– 74% worry that climate change is destroying natural habitats critical for wildlife, farming, or living (Countries indicating greatest worry including Ethiopia – 87%, Malawi – 86% and Rwanda – 83%)
– 72% are concerned by extreme heat waves or cold spells that last for abnormally long periods (Top countries including Ghana – 85%, Kenya – 85% and the DRC – 80%)
In step with those concerns, Africa’s youth, according to the Survey, want to see their governments doing more to address climate change, doing more to reduce carbon emissions and doing more to adopt green energy solutions.
– 85% of African youth polled believe that their government needs to be more proactive in addressing climate change (Top countries including Rwanda – 99%, Ethiopia – 95% and Malawi – 95%)
– 84% believe their governments should be working harder to adopt green energy solutions (Top countries including Rwanda – 98%, Malawi – 95% and Ethiopia – 94%)
– 81% believe that their governments ultimately need to make a more concerted effort to reducing carbon emissions (Top countries including Rwanda – 97%, Ethiopia – 94% and Malawi – 93%)
The covid-19 pandemic hit Africa hard, having a detrimental effect on education, health, and economic well-being.
However, Young Africans today are anxious to re-open their economies, create jobs, and start their own businesses. Respondents are also more optimistic about Africa’s prospects (34%) than those of their own country (28% on average). Faith in the African Union (82% favorable) remains the strongest of any multi-lateral or external actor when it comes to shaping the continent’s future.
The survey found the lack of well-paying jobs to be a top concern among respondents who, at the same time, voiced overwhelming support for entrepreneurship and enterprise. The survey reveals:
– Employment: 86% worry whether they will be able to garner well-paying jobs, youth in Kenya (94%), Zambia (94%), and Ghana (93%) expressed the greatest doubts. Some 69% are dissatisfied with their government’s job creation efforts.
– Entrepreneurship & Personal Ambitions: While only 30% of respondents call their current standard of living “good” – an 11-point fall since 2019 –77% expect that condition to improve over the next two years. 78% plan to start their own businesses in the next five years. With the world’s fastest-growing youth demographic, Africans are demanding more from their governments.
In the field of communications, democracy and equality, the survey shows:
– Connectivity & Media: 71% of respondents see Wi-Fi connectivity as a fundamental human right. Yet one out of three polled presently had no access to the Internet outside of work, 62% found mobile data to be too costly, 23% reported they cannot afford mobile data at all, and only 13% could afford data at all times.
– Democratic Ambitions: While 74% prefer democracy to any of its alternatives, over half (53%) say a Western-style version of that may not be suitable in the African context and that Africans must find their own solutions. Only 18% are interested in running for office.
– Equality: Almost half of respondents (47%) said they have experienced discrimination, and a whopping 83% say their country should do more to protect ethnic minorities. 81% are concerned about gender-based violence.
“Once again, this survey has demonstrated that Africa’s greatest resource is our rising generation,” noted Ichikowitz Family Foundation Executive Chairman Ivor Ichikowitz.
For the 2022 AYS, the survey interviewed youth from Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mozambique, Sudan, and Uganda in addition to those from 2020 survey nations of Congo Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, and Zambia. (C.C.)