Time has come to identify new ways to turn the more than 200-million strong African youth into human capital to develop the continent, South African Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Buti Manamela, has said.Manamela said this when he addressed the 2015 Young Africa Work Summit in Cape Town which will deal with technical and financial support to help young people venture into the agricultural sector value chain.
Using Africa’s abundant youth labour would drive the economy to grow as young people would be the engine for the achievement of the targets set by the African Union’s Agenda 2063, he said.
The Deputy Minister said the inaugural summit must contribute to making the many initiatives that are in place in the continent and the world to turn the youth into a demographic dividend that Africa needs urgently and desperately to develop and uplift its people.
“For this to happen, we not only need committed leadership and effective institutions and policies, but we need such initiatives from the private sector and industry to accelerate the project of ensuring that Africa realises its potential,” Manamela said.
He said the hosting of the summit in South Africa was also timely as government was battling with mobilising resources for the provision of quality, public, free education for young people as a response to the current student-led protests at the country’s universities.
The minister therefore called on the private sector and South African society as a whole to ensure that the current economic situation in the country is turned around, as it is a collective responsibility to do so – and not solely the responsibility of government.