The African Youth Survey 2020, which covered respondents in 14 African countries, reveals a rising Afro-optimism among the continent’s youth, driven by a strong sense of individual responsibility, post-colonial mindset, entrepreneurialism, and confidence in a shared African identity.
According to the survey, Africa’s youth believe they can solve problems collaboratively, and are hopeful of fighting corruption, achieving peace and improving their personal living conditions.
The survey 2020 was conducted across 14 African countries in an unprecedented attempt to pulse the aspirations, motivations and viewpoints of young people in Congo Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Togo, Zambia and Zimbabwe – a total of 4 200 in-depth, face-to-face interviews.
Among the key highlights of the survey are: 48% of those surveyed would choose stable governments over democracy; 75% feel they positively change their communities through their work; 79% believe that Wi-Fi access should be a fundamental human right; while 67% say ‘Fake News’ is impacting their ability to stay informed. The respondents noted that Donald Trump, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are the leaders who will have the greatest impact over the next 5 years.
The survey revealed that young people who are self-starters, pan-African, digital and media savvy are tolerant but mindful of the challenges that could blight their ‘African Century’, such as corruption, the lack of new jobs, limited start-up capital, water scarcity, fake news, terrorism and poor education systems.
Robyn de Villiers, founder and Chairperson of BCW Africa, described the study as inspirational. “The Africa Youth Survey reveals the hopes, aspirations and concerns of African youth, but most importantly, it also brings to light the sheer optimism of the largest and fastest growing demographic on the continent. These insights are extremely valuable for those in the private and public sectors – anyone doing business of any kind on the continent,” she argued.
Afro-optimism, that’s flourishing among young Africans does not rest on hope, but on their ability to seize the opportunities provided by the modern world. The findings underscore entrepreneurship as the greatest aspiration of African youth, who are embracing digital technologies to shape their futures to becoming a generation of innovative, responsible and confident leaders.
An estimated 70% of Africa’s population is under 30, with the continent being the home to the world’s only growing youth population which is forecast to increase to nearly 50 percent by 2050, reaching 945 million (under 24 year olds). In 2050, the continent will have the largest number of young people, making up nearly twice the young population of South Asia and Southeast Asia, East Asia and Oceania. By 2100, Africa’s youth population could be equivalent to twice Europe’s entire population.
Transatlantic polling firm, PSB Research, conducted interviews in Congo Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Togo, Zambia and Zimbabwe – a total of 4,200 in-depth, face-to-face interviews. The respondents were all nationals of the individual countries and all aged between 18 and 24. The gender split was exactly 50:50.