Africa's Youth
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African youth report 2011

Economic Commission for Africa African Youth Report 2011 Addressing the youth education and employment nexus in the new global economy
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African Youth Report 2009

African Youth Report 2009 | Africa's Youth | Scoop.it
Expanding opportunities for and with Young people in Africa

This inaugural African Youth Report provides an in-depth perspective on youth issues in Africa. It builds on recent African initiatives, in particular the Fifth African Development Forum on “Youth and leadership in the twenty-first century” which was organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Africa Union together with other partners. The resulting Consensus Statement, adopted by a wide range of stakeholders, calls on African governments, partners and young people to take action that will promote not only youth development, but broader economic and social development, and hence, progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In this context, the report serves to highlight the importance of popularizing, ratifying and implementing the African Youth Charter, which is the regional framework for youth development. Overall, the main contribution of this report is to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of the current status and trends in selected key economic and social development dimensions relevant to youth, namely, education, employment, health, and participation in political and decision-making processes. The report also reviews policy initiatives in these areas, highlighting best practices, and proposes clear recommendations for all stakeholders.
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African Youth Report 2009
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2nd Africa-Model United Nations International Youth Conference opens at the African Union Headquarters | African Union

2nd Africa-Model United Nations International Youth Conference opens at the African Union Headquarters | African Union | Africa's Youth | Scoop.it
2nd Africa-Model United Nations International Youth Conference opens at the African Union Headquarters

Addis Ababa, 9 March 2015 – African Union (AU) Headquarters hosted on 5 March 2015 the opening session of the African Model United Nations International Youth Conference on the theme: “African Diplomacy on multiple fronts”

The event which brings together young university students from different African countries was organised by the Department of Human Resources Science and Technology (HRST) of the African Union in collaboration with the African Model United Nations (Afro-MUN).

The purpose of the conference is to provide opportunity for upcoming youth leaders to deliberate on issues of fundamental importance to Africa and its future, through simulations of AU and UN meetings of Heads of State and Government. The event enables young people to understand high level decision making processes, and provides them an opportunity to explore concrete solutions to the overarching challenges that are manifesting on the continent.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Dr. Beatrice Njenga, Ag.Director of Human Resources, Science and Technology, AUC, underlined the importance of youth engagements particularly in the development agenda of the continent, owing to the fact that Africa is a youthful continent with about 65% of its total population below the age of 35

She noted that the African Union envisages an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa driven by its citizens, a vision that is further embodied in the AU Agenda 2063. This she underscored is an action plan for all African societies to work together in building the Africa we all want to see based on shared values and common destiny.

“Africa has come a long way in recognizing and embracing youth development and empowerment as a key driver in achieving Africa’s aspiration for unity, prosperity and peace” noted Dr, Njenga. She urged the emerging young diplomats to build their own capacity by familiarizing themselves with key continental common positions and programs, so that they can be effective in helping to mainstream Africa’s agenda in the international arena.”

Addressing the youths earlier, Dr. Tasew Woldehanna who was representing the Addis Ababa University, explained to the youth that this was a golden opportunity for all of them to gain skills to take on challenges in future.

Mr. Zemedeneh Negatu, Managing Partner for Ernest and Young in Ethiopia encouraged the youth to be goal oriented and hard working. He called on the youth to recognize and make use of the fact that Africa today is offering much better opportunities for young people, and noted that many Africans in the Diaspora are willing now to return to Africa and contribute to its development.

Mr. Abiy Shimelis, Afro-MUN Secretary General on his part emphasized on the Afro-MUN’s efforts in highlighting issues pertinent to the African youth, citizens and its agenda. He expressed gratitude towards the African Union for hosting this year’s Afro-MUN conference which he said, plays an integral part in facilitating a platform for the young visionary leaders of the continent so that they can share their goals and aspirations.

Afro-MUN is a continental programme initiated by a group of youths, to produce young African diplomats and promote meaningful engagement of African youth in key development processes for achieving Africa’s collective vision of peace, integration and prosperity with technical support of the Commission.
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APPLY: UN Africa Youth Assembly on Millennium Development Goals and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

APPLY: UN Africa Youth Assembly on Millennium Development Goals and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. | Africa's Youth | Scoop.it
The Africa Youth Assembly on UN Millennium Development Goals and the UN Sustainable Development Goals in West Africa to be held at Regional Level in Malawi on July, 8 – 11, 2015.

The meeting will offer concrete policy-relevant and development-oriented recommendations in relation to increased Youth leadership and participation for inclusive growth and achievement of sustainable development goals. The meeting will also secure political leadership commitment towards ensuring the needs and values of young people are included and met in the post-2015 era.

It is further expected to: Inspire participants with a global vision for developing a road-map on accelerating youth leadership and participation in global, continental and national governance in the SDGs process, Influence space for building young people’s capacity to engage in the financing discussions, and to make sure they have a strong advocacy ‘ask’ for financing young people’s development and health.

It will also encourage deliberations on the Financing for Development process in achieving the sustainable development and will issue a position paper urging the UN Secretary General Envoy on Youth to consider including promotion of Youth financing for Development to be attained in the post 2015 development agenda looking at how these goals aliened with National plans and strategies.

ELIGIBILITY

Be between 18-35 years.
Proficiency in written and spoken English and French.
Have completed senior secondary school (minimum requirement).
Disadvantaged Youth, Women and Girls are strongly encouraged to apply.

To apply and for more information visit here.
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African economies can benefit from youth employment | United Nations Radio

African economies can benefit from youth employment | United Nations Radio | Africa's Youth | Scoop.it
Listen / Download

Ban Ki-moon speaks at the opening of the High-level event on the Demographic Dividend and Youth Employment. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Young people can contribute enormously to peace and development in African countries.

That's what was said on Monday at the UN General Assembly's High-level event on the Demographic Dividend and Youth Employment.

Senior government officials, including ministers attended the meeting in New York.

Derrick Mbatha reports.

Duration: 2’30″
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Africa: Betting On Africa's Next-Generation Leaders

Africa: Betting On Africa's Next-Generation Leaders | Africa's Youth | Scoop.it
But the continent - and indeed the world - is also facing critical challenges. The tragedy of diseases like Ebola. The ravages of climate change. The threat of food insecurity. Civil unrest from Burkina Faso to Central African Republic. Widespread unemployment.

But there is another side to the story. A story of Africa's shining youth, set in communities, libraries and labs on university campuses across the continent. And it's a story that's gaining recognition among educators from around the world as they chart the next phase of the global movement of higher education, civic engagement and social responsibility at the Talloires Network Leaders Conference this week.

Universities are not only economic drivers of their communities, but powerful sources of innovation, new thinking and influence. They are central to movements and causes that seek to better the world. Much like the Talloires Network, The MasterCard Foundation believes that universities do not exist in isolation from society, nor from the communities in which they are located. They are, as Nature magazine writes, "beacons of social justice."

And more than that, universities are tapping into the energy of young people. Energy that they are already using to make a difference in the world.

But can universities aspire to more than just educating students? Can we develop the right kind of leaders - transformative leaders who are the embodiment of courage, altruism, empathy and resilience?

We know that education is a tangible, effective path out of poverty for families and communities, and particularly for girls and young women. The longer a young person stays in school, the more they can expect to earn and contribute to the growth of their country's economy. Just one extra year of secondary schooling increases an individual's earnings by up to 10 percent, raising average GDP growth by 3.37 percent.

In contrast, it is easy to think of leadership as intangible. Its effect on how we live is difficult to prove. But we know the big problems of our time won't be solved without it.

So how can universities harness the energy and optimism of Africa's youth to develop these transformative leaders?

First, we must strive to ensure that universities are inclusive and representative of the communities they serve.

We must ensure that we provide those who are so often left behind- young women, promising young students from economically disadvantaged communities and ethnic minorities - with the opportunities to take their place in the world. Diversity, gender and income equality will bring alternative views and ways of thinking into our institutions.

We must also strive to design programs that meet these students' needs by understanding the challenges and contexts of their lives.

Nonduduzo Ndlovu, a MasterCard Foundation Scholar at the University of Pretoria, recently wrote about the challenges that so often force bright young minds to give up on their schooling, "It is not that they are incapable, it's because of the environment they grew up in. Every person comes to this world with a certain ability or talent - we need an educational system that will help Scholars to discover and nurture their abilities, trigger creativity and stimulate innovation."

Finally, we must recognize and nurture young Africans' sense of purpose and deep desire to improve the lives of others.

A number of institutions - such as Arizona State University, Ashesi University, the University of Pretoria and the University of Cape Town - are already working to change the way in which we think about education and how we shape transformative leaders.

Their efforts are paying dividends as their students contribute new solutions to old problems.

Like Kpetermeni Siakor at Ashesi University College, who is helping health authorities in his native Liberia to understand the technology gaps in the country's healthcare system in order to stop Ebola in its tracks.

Or Miranda Nyathi at the University of Cape Town, a young woman from South Africa's townships who founded Mathmahelp, a DVD series designed to raise test scores and increase college admissions in low-income school districts.

And Fatty Al Ansar, who grew up in northern Mali's refugee camps and who would dress as a boy to secretly attend class, but today studies human rights at Trinity College in the United States. And who, brick by brick, is hard at work building a school for her country's nomad girls.

The MasterCard Foundation is betting on the transformative power of Africa's next-generation leaders. We believe these next-generation leaders will mobilize others to act, correct inequities and inspire others to action.

Young innovators like Kpetermeni, Miranda and Fatty will spark ideas and set us on the path of finding new solutions to old problems.

Reeta Roy is President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation. She will be the keynote speaker at the Talloires Network Leaders Conference in Cape Town this week.
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Regional Integeration of Africa and Perspective of the Youth

1 AFRICAN YOUTH UNION FOURTH ANNUAL SUMMIT PAPER THEME: REGIONAL INTEGRATION OF AFRICA AND A PERSPECTIVE FROM THE YOUTH DATE: July 18-19 2015 (Nelson Mandela D…
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Africa's Youth Policies are a treat to Africa,s Future

In recent years Africa has seen rise in extremist groups, child soldiers and all sorts of armed violence. The number of young people involved in illegal busine…
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AYU Green Campaign

AYU Green Campaign | Africa's Youth | Scoop.it
AYU Green Campaign

The AYU Green campaign seeks to empower young people with knowledge to protect Africa’s natural resources and to sustainably use them. The campaign brings together young Africans to demand action from their leaders and real change. The time is now to speak out and spread the truth about climate change so that we empower and inspire others to work toward solutions.

The AYU Green Campaign raises awareness about climate change and environment, trains and educates people of all ages with more emphasis on youth and gets into action to prevent more effects of climate change. Together, we are calling on African leaders to act now and solve this crisis.
Mission Statement

To unite African young people in action to save, protect and conserve and interact sustainably with Africa’s natural resources.
Vision Statement

To create generations of young Africans who will be active players in keeping Africa green and maintaining a healthy environment.
Objectives :

To promote sustainable development and to encourage the investment of green business.
To raise awareness on climate change and environmental issues.
To mobilise the youth to take part in keeping and promoting an environmental pollution free Africa.
To promote greening initiatives, and the planting of trees.
To promote environmental education amongst the youth in order to find green solutions for the benefit of Africa and its future descendants.

Motto

Keep mama Africa Green
Nelson Mandela Essay Challenge

Nelson Mandela essay challenge was introduced to preserve and honour the legacy of Nelson Mandela for a better Africa. It inspires young people to learn from Mandela and to think about how each of them can use the Mandela inspiration to make a difference in the world.

It is an annual competition. The award ceremony is held on Mandela Day (July18) every year.
Mentor the Young African

Mentor the Young African program is our unique initiative that grooms and mentors African young people aged 16-25 in the areas of entrepreneurship, leadership and career guidance. The program helps young people discover their hidden talents, polish their skills, make informed career decisions and equip them with practical knowledge and skills in order that they may grow into productive, prosperous and creative citizens.

The program was introduced after identifying the challenges African young people go through in their quest for choosing their role models, deciding their careers, defining themselves and using the opportunities around them.

Mentor the Young African program is designed to provide youth with the foundational skills necessary for future success within their careers. The objective of the program is to develop a community of prospective African future entrepreneurs and leaders who will have a full understanding of themselves and Africa. Mentor the Young African program will inspire, motivate and enlighten Africa’s next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs
Policy Advocacy and lobbying

We lobby governments and regional bodies to formulate and implement youth cantered policies and also do policy recommendation. We do research on the state of the youth in Africa and national and regional youth policies.
Annual Summit

Every October we host a youth summit (African Youth Union Summit) that is rotated within Africa. Each year we choose a theme that best addresses the needs of young people and provide practical solutions to the challenges faced by African youth and the continent in general.
Future program
Ethical Leadership/democracy and good governance

This program aims at creating a new face of leadership in Africa. It will educate African youth about Pan-Africanism, regional integration and leadership.
Youth Fund

The youth fund will focus on promoting entrepreneurship within African youth by providing financial literacy, cash grants and revolving funds. This program will eventually lead to the establishment of the first African Youth Bank on the continent
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An economist's answer to the youth employment crisis in Africa

An economist's answer to the youth employment crisis in Africa | Africa's Youth | Scoop.it
This is a tough time to be young in Africa. Although the growth prospects of the continent are good – growth rate estimates are 4.8% in 2013 and 5.3% in 2014 – 40 million young people are estimated to be out of work and many more in poor employment .

The African Economic Outlook estimates that 53 million of Africa's 200 million young people between the ages of 15 and 24 are in unstable employment and 40 million young Africans are out of work. However, while 18 million of them are looking for a job, 22 million have already given up.

Working with the Gallup world poll to collate household data for 37 countries, partners in the African Economic Outlook also found that only a minority of young working Africans have a 'good' job. Wage employment in the formal sector concerns only 7% of youth in low income countries (LICs) and 10% in middle-income countries (MICs). Others fall in categories defined by International Labour Organisation (ILO) as 'vulnerable employment', including self-employment and unpaid work (such as family farming). And while self-employment may not be bad per se, in the overwhelming majority of cases it reflects the lack of alternatives, and implies precarious living conditions and working poverty.

Surprisingly, Africa's poorest countries have less unemployed youth than the better-off countries. As countries grow richer, consumers start flocking to known brands, away from local products that used to provide livelihoods for many locals. With rising incomes, families also have more capacity to support their young job seekers, who can therefore be more selective, rejecting job offers that go unfilled. A trend that leads to higher youth unemployment and potentially broader social costs.
Removing obstacles for local business

So how can we remove obstacles for local business? First, there is the attitude of governments towards small business. The fate of Tunisian vegetable seller Mohamed Bouazizi is an example of the importance of this. Early in 2011, he torched himself and sparked a revolution. Instead of providing him with services and incentives to register his business, government officials had been impounding his equipment and his vegetables, preventing him from growing his business and feeding his family.
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Second, governments can support social insurance adapted to the needs of small businesses such as Bouazizi's. With the security that insurance affords, a small business owner can invest his earnings into his business instead of having to stack them at home in preparation for sudden costs like health care of family members.

Third, many small entrepreneurs in Africa do not have access to the loans that could allow them to grow their business. Although obtaining very small amounts of financing has become easier thanks to microfinance, obtaining medium-sized loans, say $10,000, is very difficult. Most banks are not interested. They make money more easily with bigger firms.

Fourth, better services could do a great deal. For instance, a stable electricity supply would allow many to start small-scale production outfits.
Training young people for the jobs that African firms offer

Many young people in Africa suffer from skills mismatches. They have been to school, even university, but did not obtain the practical skills that employers are seeking. Many firms are looking for young people with technical skills to operate machines and oversee manufacturing processes but cannot find them. At the same time Africa boasts the highest share of students in the humanities and social sciences of any region in the world. Many young people with a university education cannot find work. In South Africa, for example, firms report 600,000 vacancies, while 800,000 young university graduates are unemployed.
Does Africa need a new industrial policy?

Finally, improving the job creation potential of existing activities is important, but in order to promote a real structural transformation of African economies, new, more productive activities need to be fostered. Where should African economic transformation policies 2.0 look to? Recent evidence gives a few hints of the most promising sectors.

Extractive industries can spur new activities and encourage diversification: while the possibility of processing profitably everything that is underground should not be overestimated, the promotion of backward linkages (local firms supplying goods and services to big extractive firms) holds the promise of job creation and technological spill-overs.

The greatest potential for inclusive growth may actually be found in agriculture and agroindustry: beyond the well-known examples of export sectors such as cashew nuts and cut flowers, the next big thing may well be African local and regional markets, buoyed by steady demographic growth, urbanisation and rising income levels.

The forthcoming African Economic Outlook 2014, to be released at the annual meetings of the African Development Bank in Kigali, Rwanda (19-23 May), aims to provide new insights and document Africa's good practices in this regard.

Jan Rieländer is an economist and Henri-Bernard Solignac-Lecomte is head of unit, Europe, Middle East and Africa at OECD. This article was originally published in ECDPM's monthly Great Insights.

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Realizing Africa's Youth Potential: Africa needs investors to create jobs for its youth, and develop skills | LinkedIn

Realizing Africa's Youth Potential: Africa needs investors to create jobs for its youth, and develop skills | LinkedIn | Africa's Youth | Scoop.it
from World Bank

Africa is fortunate. Unlike more industrialized countries and even some industrializing countries like China, Africa is endowed with a much younger population. This could offer a tremendous comparative advantage in years to come that could propel the continent forward as a dynamic and productive engine of growth for the entire world. As elucidated by the UNFPA, “A window of economic and social growth occurs when the working age population becomes larger than people of non-working age…” making significantly higher growth rates possible as “the state faces fewer costs associated with children and the elderly”. But for Africa to realize this advantage, it needs two things: investment to create good jobs, and the young people with the skills to fill them.

According to the United Nations, persons between 15 and 24 comprise a fifth of the world’s population with the vast majority living in developing countries . But, at present in Africa, this cohort accounts for almost two thirds of the unemployed. While there has been no shortage of initiatives to tackle the youth “issue”, these have been at the social margin with mixed results. Policy reforms and donor support have included both supply and demand side activities, mostly directed to investment in public services complimentary to the private sector which, while necessary, have not been sufficient.


This is not to say that inclusiveness, efficiency and quality in the basic public goods for young people at an early age - education and health - are not important. Chronic malnutrition for a child of less than two, means that that child will never reach his/her intellectual potential and will probably not have more income (from legal sources) than his or her parents. Children, from the womb, need be considered national assets - or “public goods” and investments made early on in their health and nutrition and in quality education from the level of pre-school upwards. A top UN official recently highlighted this, by saying that "if Africa [like] East Asia, adapts to its local context and makes comparable investments in young people, the region could...[add] as much as 500 billion U.S. dollars to its economy every year for as many as 30 years." resulting in “the total transformation of Africa."

But the hard reality is that, public investment needs to be mostly funded by revenue from the private sector and that each job requires a certain investment for which, in aggregate, there is insufficient fiscal room or donor largess, or insufficient political will, (or a combination of the three) to address what is needed. Most investments in Africa have been in capital intensive extractive sectors that, unlike more factor balanced investments, have not generated the human resource supply responses for value addition, and the related human resource development, at the quality and scale necessary. Government and donor policy interventions so far have not succeeded in making value addition in Africa more attractive for investors, including evidently for capital flight.

Africa urgently needs a policy perspective that looks to private investment as the fiscal engine to generate the public goods for youth, which the state cannot already supply. The policy paradigm needs to shift to see a healthy and basic educated youth, more as a competitive and market opportunity to be promoted to investors rather than a social problem hungry for public services to be supported by aid. The rationale for the private sector is also compelling, as youth incomes can disproportionately drive demand, including for credit, through increased household and family formation.

more at https://blogs.worldbank.org/developmenttalk/realizing-africas-youth-potential-africa-needs-investors-create-jobs-its-youth-and-develop-skills
Realizing Africa's Youth Potential: Africa needs investors to create jobs for its youth,...

blogs.worldbank.org•Africa is fortunate. Unlike more industrialized countries and even some industrializing countries like China, Africa is endowed with a much younger population. This could offer a tremendous comparative advantage in years to come that could propel...

Paul Swider

Besigye Maximus

Potentially gifted Africa, with Fast growing global Youth populace figures can sail through Hurdles to empower and utilize its young population goals. I am convinced that the issue of Investors is great but requires strategies utilization and execution. By excitement African leaders usually take suicide decision leaving no room for Evaluation and monitoring reviews.

The above however, is perceived deliberate since most of Our African leaders do not use mirrors of Leadership and management to take cautious measures on achieving most priorities of Governance.

WAY FORWARD:
Need for strong laws and policies as well as focused leadership if Africa is to benefit interdependently on her young population.

Trusted investors and potential capitalists should see Africa as virgin resource for utilization to boost industrialization and achieve global mission as than exploitation as was the case of slave trade time.

STRENGTHEN SUCH; die need to promote various venture capitalists where young entrepreneurs can access funding for innovation development and SME promotion.

World bank, ADB, Eurobanks, Asianbanks should endeavor to condition African states to show cause of long term plan to avert the youth challenge in Africa as a precondition to borrow monies for venture capital and Infrastructure development. It has been noted and with concern that some of these countries borrow money from banks only to used for political sustainability other than the priority areas such as this in discussion, therefore IMF should stage a wake up call to these states with similar spending strategy, ask for names next time.

Young African leaders should stop with immediate effect dancing the tunes of Old leadership in this region but come up with dynamic strategies to help advance Africa's Governance, for instance advocate for fair democracy and good governance which are pillars to development empowerment of Young Africans. Thanks and merry X-mas, Happy new year's eve.
5 months ago
Paul Swider

Besigye Maximus

STRENGTHENING AFRICAN YALI NETWORK IS THE WAY TO GO IF WE ARE TO ACHIEVE DYNAMICALLY.

The YALI network is credibly doing commendable work to empower Young African leaders but more is required to realise the goal especially a this crucial time. the so trusted Leaders turned to exchanging guards for rooting states' resources and plundering systems. for purpose of reference to names of these state visit performance plat form at own time. but really we need to consider serious sanction to those that have engaged in rooting resources other than developing their nations in Africa. It has on turned to be a sharing of national resources for individual benefit instead of public benefit. For this and other reasons, the terrorist have a cause to do the endless attachs on some of the African doomed states. i am not promoting terrorism but a point here is that terrorist are a disgruntled group that is ready to die for failing to have access to national cake equal sharing. read between the lines.

I am a patriotic African who could sacrifice even resources to voluntarily submit a performance report on critical issues of national importance but only to be suprised by finding it in the dustbin without any actionable point. Even now we are critically sacrificing to discuss Africa not in trivial but significancy. Agee with me that a wave of change is necessary for Africa's governance systems. let us not sit in our confirt zone htings worsen. we are a new breed that must embrace YALI efforts to revamp the dilapidated africa in quotes.
5 months ago
Paul Swider

Olaniyi Gbolahan

well said. thank you
5 months ago
Paul Swider

Samuel O. Zion

Thank you so much Tolu for your response. We sure need you on board and severals like you.

My contacts are
08065917193, 08182681917
samuel4faith@gmail.com

Thank you so much
5 months ago
Paul Swider

ssenkubuge Rouben

i agree with you but Africa,also needs mentors purposely to encourage the youth to acquire the necessary and timed skills to benefit the continent and to encourage them not to give up on their continent and think that real life is only in European countries.
5 months ago
Paul Swider

Besigye Maximus

Thank you Mr Ruben, you are surely right but take a look at most of the neglected crucial issues such as strong policies on Graft and failure in services delivery and infrastructure dev't in Most African states except Rwanda and Algeria which to me seems deliberate! why should an African leader wait for donors to improve domestic services at the expense of Embezzlement and graft in his/her country when Laws are in place but not being reinforced in the Guise of Political immunity project?.

We need to embark on moral strengthening and democracy promotion in Africa as YALI Network.
5 months ago
Paul Swider

Besigye Maximus

Strong Emphasis: Encourage more young African leaders to participate in this constructive dialogue and discussion so that we can together build Africa and ultimately the Globe.

Ladies and Gentlemen, where are the Strong Mandelas of our time? Don't you think God won't forgive us for having learned nothing and forgotten nothing from Our Great Father & Most learned friend, Mzee Nelson Mandela.
Let us remember that Our Fallen Great Leader had most things to sacrifice especially during his Youthful time including the Luxuries of the time but laid a strong and permanent foundation for South Africa which in my opinion should have been a dawn for Africa. But to our dismay one can't tell exactly where Africa heads.

However, the good news is that YALI network has started the great work of identifying Africa's challenges and possible innovative solutions.

We should embrace the good work of our loving partners USA and friends of Africa. i am very sincere that has exhibited a good heart for Africa.
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Forum Libreville | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Forum Libreville | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization | Africa's Youth | Scoop.it

From 11 to 13 December 2014, there will be a Pan-African Forum “Youth and Culture of Peace” with the theme: “African youth and the challenge of promoting a culture of peace in Africa”.

This Forum, jointly organized by the Omar Bongo Ondimba Foundation for Peace, Science, Culture and the Environment, the Gabonese National Commission for UNESCO with the support of UNESCO and the African Union, will be held in view of launching a Youth Network for a Culture of Peace in Africa.


In the context of the preparation of this forum, and in order to support the Youth Network for a Culture of Peace in Africa, an online platform will be set up to help youth organizations share experiences and projects, ideas and visions, exchange views and collaboratively form strategies and policies to jointly promote a culture of peace. In view of the Libreville Pan-African Forum, the first task of the online platform will consist in the preparation of the terms of reference and the concrete modalities of cooperation of the Youth Network for a Culture of Peace in Africa.

The Forum will bring together the Presidents and Representatives of National Youth Councils of the 54 Member States of the African Union, the Representatives of African youth organizations recognized by UNESCO and the African Union and other relevant organizations and the Secretaries General of National Commissions for UNESCO of the Africa region.

The expected outcomes of the Forum are the following:

  • The establishment of a dynamic and sustainable network of youth organizations of the African continent as well as of its governing bodies;
  • The Youth Network for a culture of peace in Africa;
  • the sharing best practices relating to culture of peace;
  • The launch of a "Youth and Culture of Peace" International Award to support the existence of the network.

For more information:

 

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Decent jobs for youth should be at the top of African Development agenda, says ILO

Decent jobs for youth should be at the top of African Development agenda, says ILO | Africa's Youth | Scoop.it
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (ILO News) – With more than two thirds of young workers’ potential not fully utilized, there is an urgent need for countries in Sub Saharan Africa to create quality jobs for youth, a new ILO study says.

African countries have experienced incredible economic growth over the past several years. The World Bank projects that GDP growth in sub-Saharan Africa will hit 4.9 per cent this year, rise to 5.3 per cent in 2014 and to 5.5 per cent in 2015. But the quantity and quality of jobs for youth remains a huge challenge.

According to the report titled “Labour market transitions of young women and men in Sub-Saharan Africa”, the average youth labour underutilization rate in the region – which adds the share of youth in irregular employment, unemployment and inactive non-students – reached 67.1 per cent in 2012-13.

With 10 million young people entering the labour market each year, countries in Sub-Saharan Africa face an urgent need to create quality jobs."The study was prepared for the first Work4Youth Regional Conference , which is taking place this week in Addis Ababa.

“With 10 million young people entering the labour market each year, countries in Sub-Saharan Africa face an urgent need to create quality jobs that guarantee the necessary income and material independence for workers and their families. The low quality of jobs does not allow either the youth or the countries they are living in to fully tap into the region’s true economic potential,” said Azita Berar Awad, Director of the ILO’s Employment Policy Department , at the opening of the Conference.

Only around half of the youth in the region (53.2 per cent) are working, while only one youth in four works in a standard employment relationship with a written contract, the report says. Informality and vulnerable employment remain the reality for the vast majority of young workers in the region.

The study was based on recent school-to-work transition surveys (SWTS), which were carried out in eight sub-Saharan African countries (Benin, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia) under the ILO’s Work4Youth (W4Y) Project  – a global partnership between the ILO and The MasterCard Foundation.

The SWTS household survey – which covered youth aged 15 to 29 – took place between 2012 and 2013 in the eight sub-Saharan African countries and in an additional 20 countries around the world. They will be run a second time in the same countries in 2014-15.

The results of each survey round will be shared with policy makers, the ILO social partners, and international and non-governmental organizations to help them develop national youth policies and programmes for Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Addis Ababa meeting – organized by the ILO’s Youth Employment Programme  – provides an opportunity to better assess how statistical evidence can support the design and monitoring of policy toward improved labour market transitions of young people in the region.

Governments’, workers’ and employers’ representatives from the eight sub-Saharan African countries covered by the study, as well as senior officials from Ethiopia and observers from regional and international institutions, civil society and development partners, are taking part in the two-day conference.

Key findings:
  • The average youth unemployment rate in the region was 22.8 per cent, with the lowest rate in Madagascar (2.2 per cent) and the highest in Tanzania (42.0 per cent).
  • The average female youth unemployment rate is 25.3 per cent compared to the male rate of 20.2 per cent.
  • Only one working youth in four works in a standard employment relationship with a written contract.
  • Half of employment contracts are temporary and less than one young worker in five is entitled to paid annual or sick leave.
  • Less than 10 per cent of unemployed youth in the region has registered at an employment centre as a means of finding work. Most sub-Saharan African youth search for jobs through friends, relatives and acquaintances.
  • Agriculture and services are the main sectors employing youth in the region.
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African youth report 2009

Expanding opportunities for and with Young people in Africa Economic Commission for Africa African Youth Report 2009
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African Youth Report 2011

African Youth Report 2011 | Africa's Youth | Scoop.it
Addressing the youth education and employment nexus in the new global economy

Young Africans are the key to an African renaissance and will remain players in and advocates of social transformation and development in many spheres. The enormous benefits young people can contribute are realized when investment is made in young people’s education, employment, health care, empowerment and effective civil participation. Several initiatives on youth education and employment have been undertaken in Africa, but these need to be deepened in order to exploit the full potential of young people in contributing to poverty reduction and sustainable development.
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African Youth Report 2011
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Harnessing the potential of Africa’s youth | UNFPA - United Nations Population Fund

Harnessing the potential of Africa’s youth | UNFPA - United Nations Population Fund | Africa's Youth | Scoop.it
UNITED NATIONS, New York – The growing number of young people in Africa could offer enormous potential gains to the continent, but only if their needs are met and their rights are fulfilled. This was the central message of leaders and public health experts at an 11 April meeting on Africa’s ‘demographic dividend’ at the United Nations Headquarters.

The population of young people is growing rapidly in Africa, even as numbers of young people are projected to decline in most other parts of the world, according to the recent UN Secretary-General’s report on world demographic trends. This fact, coupled with declining fertility rates, means Africa has the opportunity to benefit from a demographic dividend – a potential economic boom that occurs when falling fertility rates coincide with a growing working-age population.

The discussion, a side event of the 2014 Commission on Population and Development, focused on how African countries can make the most of this opportunity. The key, said speakers, is to help young people fulfil their individual potential, empowering them to bring benefits to their communities, their countries and the world.
Dignitaries and health experts discuss support for Africa's youth. Photo credit: UNFPA/Eddie Wright

“In Africa, over 30 per cent of the population is between the age of 10 and 24, and will remain so for at least the next 20 years. This burgeoning youth population is a challenge for the region, but it also could be an opportunity – and our greatest asset,” said Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA, the UN Population Fund. “Africa’s young people have the potential to be a powerful engine for development. But to realize this potential, we must invest in them, address their particular needs, include them in decision-making and empower them to become agents of change.”

Listening to young people

“Africa is home to the youngest and most productive population in the world,” said Corinne Woods, Director of the UN Millennium Campaign. “This is added to the fact that the fastest developing economies today are in Africa. And this presents enormous opportunities for growth and transformation. Africa’s present and future belong to its youths.”

She urged governments to be responsive to young people’s needs and demands. Surveys have shown “that citizens understand what it will take to achieve socioeconomic transformation and human development. Added to this, they also appreciate the bottlenecks impeding their achievement of livelihood ambitions as well as the responsibilities of governments and other stakeholders to deal with these challenges,” she said.

“Harnessing youthful energy is a sure pathway to peace, prosperity and growth,” she added.

Youth need the tools to succeed

The UNFPA’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa Benoit Kalasa warned that governments must do more to ensure young people have the opportunities and tools necessary to succeed. “Employment opportunities are few,” he said, adding, “We need to empower women and ensure gender equality… And we need jobs, jobs and jobs.”

Young women must not be left behind, Dr. Osotimehin noted: “If Africa is to take advantage of this demographic transition, as other regions have done, we must invest specifically in our daughters and ensure that each young person and each adolescent girl has access to education and quality health care, including comprehensive sexuality education and reproductive health services.”

He also emphasized the importance of equipping young people with the knowledge needed to protect themselves from adolescent pregnancy and HIV. “Every day we lose young women unnecessarily, and this has to stop,” he said.

The event was organized by the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN, in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation, Plan USA, the Ford Foundation and the UN Millennium Campaign. Participants at the event included UNFPA and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health’s Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health.
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African Youth Charter | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

African Youth Charter | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization | Africa's Youth | Scoop.it
African Youth Charter

The African Youth Charter (AYC) was endorsed on 2 July 2006 by the African Union Heads of States and Governments meeting in Banjul (Gambia). It entered into force on 8 August 2009.

The Charter is a political and legal document which serves as the strategic framework for African States, giving direction for youth empowerment and development at continental, regional and national levels. The AYC aims to strengthen, reinforce and consolidate efforts to empower young people through meaningful youth participation and equal partnership in driving Africa's development agenda.

The Youth Charter is a legal document to support policies, programmes and actions for youth development in Africa

The Charter refers to the rights, freedoms and obligations of youth in Africa.

The Youth Decade Plan of Action 2009-2018 is a roadmap for the effective popularization, ratification and implementation of the AYC.

The policy focuses on youth participation in society and politics; youth’s role in development; commitments to young people regarding education, health, employment, eradication of poverty, the environment, peace and security, law, and culture. The Charter also addresses itself towards specific groups of youth including young women and girls, and disabled young people.

To take effect, African Member States need to ratify the Charter and translate the Charter’s commitments into their national laws. One of the goals of the UNESCO Strategy on African Youth is to partner with the African Union Commission to promote the ratification and implementation of the Charter throughout the African continent.

Full version of the Charter [PDF]
More about the African Youth Charter
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The EFF and the South African Revolution (African Youth in Politics)

The EFF and the South African Revolution (African Youth in Politics) | Africa's Youth | Scoop.it

The ‘’National Peoples Assembly’’ was held in the Free State city of Mangaung. Despite mischievous (and malicious) reports in the media about ‘’chaos’’ and ‘’revolts’’ during the nominations and elections process for the leading body, the Central Command Team, the overall congress was actually very successful and represents yet a major milestone for the Fighters.

One of the most important moments during the assembly was when the leader, Julius Malema committed the party to socialism: ‘’Socialism does not do away with personal non-exploitative property. Socialism does away with private property owned by individuals and used to make a profit such as factories and banks. Socialism to us primarily means that we should collectively develop the productive forces and make sure that all people have equal access to economic sustainability and have basic needs’’, he said. This is a welcome outcome and a significant step forward.
Introduction

The emergence of the EFF to the left of the ANC is a clear manifestation of the radicalisation taking place in South African society. No other opposition party in the last two decades has made such a sudden and dramatic entrance onto the political arena. But the emergence of the EFF necessitates a closer look at the party and some of its leading policy positions.

The EFF describes itself as a ‘’radical, leftist, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movement with an internationalist outlook anchored by popular grassroots formations and struggle’’. It also states that it “draws inspiration from the broad Marxist-Leninist tradition and Fanonian schools of thought in their analyses of the state, imperialism, culture and class contradictions in every society.’’ [Note: Frantz Fanon was a radical left-wing writer who had an influence on many anti-imperialist activists throughout the former colonial world, including, in particular, South Africa]

The party bases itself on what it calls seven ‘’non-negotiable cardinal pillars for economic freedom in our lifetime’’, namely: a) Expropriation of South Africa's land without compensation for equal redistribution in use. b) Nationalisation of mines, banks, and other strategic sectors of the economy, without compensation. c) Building state and government capacity, which will lead to the abolishment of tenders. d) Free quality education, healthcare, houses, and sanitation. e) Massive protected industrial development to create millions of sustainable jobs, including the introduction of minimum wages in order to close the wage gap between the rich and the poor, close the apartheid wage gap and promote rapid career paths for Africans in the workplace. f) Massive development of the African economy and advocating for a move from reconciliation to justice in the entire continent. g) Open, accountable, corrupt-free government and society without fear of victimisation by state agencies.

To fully understand the emergence of the EFF and their radical approach and some of their foremost policies, it is first necessary to look at the context in which it had emerged. Only by looking at the process of the class struggle in the previous period, is it possible to fully understand current events and the emergence of such a radical political formation.
A diseased system

Capitalism in South Africa is a thoroughly diseased system and is at a complete impasse. Millions of people suffer the indignity of hunger, not because the country lacks the means to solve unemployment and poverty. On the contrary, South Africa sits on top of some of the biggest mineral deposits in the world. At the same time that the working class and the poor have had to suffer this situation, the capitalists have lined their pockets with trillions of Rands which could wipe out poverty and unemployment forever. To add to this, the crash of 2008 also hit the economy, leading to more than one million job losses. Now officially more than 25 percent of the working age population are unemployed, although the expanded definition puts it at nearly 36 percent.

Life under capitalism is proving to be unbearable to many. This reality is staring millions of workers in the face. Unable to solve the crisis, the bourgeois unloaded the crisis onto the shoulders of the workers. This has led to widespread anger within the working class and youth.

However, the leaders of the traditional political organisations of the South African masses, the ANC and the SACP, have not reflected this mood. In fact they have been on the opposite side of the barricades at every crucial turn.

The Marikana massacre clearly exposed the real interests of the ANC leadership which is completely intertwined with the bourgeoisie. Here these so called leaders of the liberation movement, in a clearly premeditated act, opened fire on peaceful striking workers. At the same time the rotten and corrupt nature of the Zuma clique is being exposed every day. The Nkandla scandal especially revealed the luxurious lives of the elite, which is in stark contrast to the desperate situation of the majority. The “Communist” leaders are even more rabid and reactionary than their so-called “reformist” counterparts. The masses are furious about the state of things. The organisations which were supposed to lead the struggle against the onslaught of the bourgeois are paralysed, because their leaderships are in fact leading the onslaught themselves.

In this situation the EFF has been the most radical voice against the establishment. No other political organisation has had an approach similar to the EFF. In the trade union field NUMSA has started moving in a similar direction, having broken with the right-wing leadership of the ANC-SACP-COSATU tri-partite alliance.

The EFF has been intervening in every major struggle in the country. From the mines to the townships the EFF leader Julius Malema, has been present taking up the humble demands of the masses. The party has also been fighting for the most radical demands putting forward the important question of the nationalisation of the commanding heights of the economy, as well as calling for a revolution. It has stood up against the corrupt ANC tops and boldly exposed how they hide their corruption behind bureaucratic parliamentarism.

This bold approach and the revolutionary rhetoric has attracted a large layer of the youth and the working class who are looking for a radical solution to their problems.
A correct approach to nationalisation needed

The call for nationalisation was an extremely important development and it connects with the historical traditions of the liberation movement. Unfortunately, the way the EFF leaders pose the question of nationalisation is not always clear or consistent. Is it part of a general programme of struggling for socialism, or is it a means of solving some of the contradictions within the capitalist system? Nationalisation in and of itself, unless it is carried out under democratic workers’ control and management and is part of an overall plan, does not necessarily solve the problems of the working class.

In an interview shortly after the formation of the EFF, party leader Malema defended state ownership in the following way: “The British themselves, when they came out of war, they took over their economy. It was state control. They took it from private capital to state ownership. The Americans now, recently with the global financial crisis, they took it over and intervened and directed how the automobile industries are going to be run by the state.’’

The problem with posing the question in these terms is that it seems to indicate that the kind of nationalisation being envisaged is one that would be compatible with the survival of the capitalism and not aimed at its overthrow. It is true that the bourgeois state has taken over industries in the past. After the Second World War, the British Labour Party in government did carry out a programme of nationalisations. It was in fact the only time they actually carried out their programme!

The Bank of England was nationalised in 1946. This was followed by Cable and Wireless being taken over. Then the coal industry was nationalised in 1947, followed by the railways in 1948 and iron and steel in 1949.

The main point, however, is that these nationalised companies were not run by the workers. They were run by boards, or public corporations, as state capitalist companies and to the benefit of the capitalist system as a whole. The fact that such a form of nationalisation was compatible with capitalism, was clearly confirmed when the Conservatives won the election of 1951, and after having opposed nationalisation and having championed private ownership, they did not privatise these industries.

Nationalisation of the coal industry did allow for some concessions being given to the miners, such as paid holidays and an improvement in safety standards. But pay for miners stayed relatively unchanged as the strikes in the coal mining industries during this period indicate.

The capitalists put massive pressure on the Labour leaders to turn nationalisation in their favour, as Ted Grant explains:

‘’And yet the bureaucratic structure of the nationalised industries was introduced by Herbert Morrison and other right-wing [Labour] leaders under the direct pressure of the capitalists and the Tories during the period of the 1945-50 Labour Government. The Labour Party should return to the principles passed by the Labour Party Conferences in 1931 and 1937; that previous owners of nationalised industries should have no further say and that the first change in the public company should be to the wages and conditions of its employees, not to the massive interest payments or compensation to former owners which cripple industries like rail and coal now.’’ (Ted Grant, Workers’ control or workers’ participation?)

The Tories are the traditional party of the British bourgeoisie. It is the party of private enterprise and Margaret Thatcher. Yet, when it came back into government in the 1950’s, it only de-nationalised and de-regulated the road haulage industry. The rest of the industries were kept under state control until the 1980’s and 1990’s. Why would the traditional party of the bourgeois keep these industries under state control? One of the main reasons was that these nationalisations were vital to support British industry.

The same could be said of the situation in the USA at the outbreak of the 2008 crash. Indeed, between 2008 and 2010 the automobile industry was bailed out by the state. The big three automakers, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler received massive cash injections worth $85 billion from the government and were effectively nationalised. We must also remember that the state also nationalised some of the big investment banks and insurance companies. What was the result? The bailout of the auto sector contributed to the massive US budget deficit as the companies were made “leaner” and ultimately, they were returned to private ownership. In the financial industry, all the bad debt and toxic assets were taken over by the state while the bankers walked away with billions of dollars and big bonuses.

As a direct consequence of this swindling by the bankers and the government, austerity measures have subsequently been forced on the shoulders of the American working class and workers around the world. These examples clearly show that nationalisations in these instances were not carried out in favour of the working class. And later, when the system required it, they were privatised and many of the plants and mines were closed. That is what provoked the powerful almost one-year long miners’ strike in Britain in 1984-85.
Nationalisation and the EFF

The founding manifesto of the EFF which came out in July 2013 calls for “Nationalisation of mines, banks, and other strategic sectors of the economy, without compensation.” Marxists wholeheartedly support this correct demand. The economy of South Africa is highly monopolised. It would only be necessary to take over the mines, banks, land, industry and transport to begin the process of building a socialist planned economy.

However, the EFF’s policy on nationalisation does not seem to be firmly set despite being characterized as one of the “seven non-negotiable cardinal pillars” of the programme. There also seems to be some contested views from within the party. This was confirmed by a leading EFF member, Andile Mngxitama when he said:

“The contestation is that the state can have its own interests that are not the interests of the people. The best-case scenario is going to be a blend between state ownership and checking accumulation by the political elite that runs the state and devolving ownership to the communities immediately.”

In another interview, he goes further:

‘’There are two contending ideas. The assumption is that it becomes a people’s state, responsive to the needs of the people. Does the state then become the new capitalists, with the possibility to share more the profits and distribute amongst the people? Or does the state increasingly undermine that same capitalist logic by, first of all, ownership. But then you immediately devolve ownership as part of the socialisation of the means of production into communities. In other words, you reinfence ownership; like the Zimbabwean model of immediately reinforcing ownership. Say you take 60%, you nationalise. This is not a foregone conclusion, this is a proposition on the table. You would have to say 10% to the community where there is a mine, 10% the workers – some would say 15% to the workers, these matters are not yet resolved. The state takes 30%, then you can give private black capital 10 or 5%. You still accept that there is going to be private enterprise contending with state ownership, but you have to reinforce so that there is direct benefit of the community and we don’t depend on the state.’’ (Malema “Decimates” the Left – An Interview with Andile Mngxitama, The Con, 11/10/13)

At the same time, Floyd Shivambu, the commissar for policy development and research and deputy president, gave the following explanation: “We are arguing for a mixed state and community ownership… We want to discontinue private ownership but we’re willing to look at 60% state-owned and 40% private ownership at the initial stage. But private ownership will eventually be phased out.” (EFF straightens out its mines nationalisation policy, Mail&Guardian, 9/10/2013)

(We will expand more on the points raised here later. The point to for now is that the policy seems to be in flux.)
‘’Black industrialists’’

In a recent article in which Shivambu replied to a former chairman of the Free Market Foundation he states:

“The most reliable approach to creating black industrialists in South Africa is to aggressively pursue a radical industrial expansion programme because the industrial policy action plans pursued by the trade and industry department are very weak.

“The government should develop productive forces, deriving useful lessons from the late industrialisers in east Asia that realised massive industrial expansion after World War 2.” (Floyd Shivambu, Radical change needs radical policy, City Press, 8/10/2014)

The idea here is that the state should own some of the “key sectors” not in order to overthrow Capital, but in order to “create black industrialists.” But this is only a mirror image of what happened when the Nationalist government took over “key companies” like the electricity company ESKOM, the transport company TRANSNET, the telecommunication company TELKOM, the steel company ISCOR and the energy company SASOL. In those instances, the nationalisations were carried out precisely to “create white industrialists.”

This stance is contrary to their position which calls for the “transfer of the economy to the people as a whole”, and the call for the elimination of private ownership, which is indeed a socialist demand.

The task of the South African revolution is the expropriation of the entire bourgeoisie, not to create black capitalists. The problems of housing, water, unemployment, inequality and hunger can begin to be solved only when the capitalists are overthrown. Only by taking over the means of production would it be possible to use them to the benefit of all, not just for a few capitalist fat-cats.
Workers’ control or bureaucratic state control?

The need for the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism is no quip, nor merely a good idea. It is an objective necessity. The twin barriers that stand in the way of progress of humankind are on the hand the nation state and on the other hand, private ownership of the means of production. Only by placing the means of production under public ownership will humanity free the productive forces from the straight-jacket of private ownership.

A clear example of workers’ control and management is to be seen in the Venezuelan revolution where workers in a number of instances have taken over the running of some of the biggest companies such as INVEVAL, ALCASA, PDVSA and CADAFE and have run them very successfully. For example, after the 2002-2003 bosses’ lockout, the workers of the massive oil company PDVSA took over their installations, broke the sabotage of the managers and ran them on their own.

The programme of the EFF is very explicit in its call for state-ownership of the key sectors of the economy. But the programme is silent on the question of workers’ control.

What is workers’ control? It means precisely what it says: the working class in the factories, the mines and elsewhere in the economy have the right to inspect the books of a company or industry and to check and control exactly what goes in and out of the company, and to hold the management directly accountable. Workers’ control usually occurs during revolutionary situations (especially where the phenomenon of dual power exists) and is an excellent training ground for the workers to learn how to run a planned economy.

As Trotsky explains:

“This leads squarely to the question of the governmental administration of industry; i.e. to the expropriation of the capitalists by a workers' government. Workers' control, in this way, is not a prolonged 'normal condition', like wage scale agreements or social insurance. The control is a transitional measure, under the conditions of the highest tension of the class war and is conceivable only as a bridge to the revolutionary nationalisation of industry."

Why is workers’ control important? Because of the special place the workers occupy in capitalist production. The workers are the creators of all wealth in society. Without them, not a wheel turns, not a light bulb shines and not a telephone rings. Only the working class knows exactly the ins and outs of the production process.

In the transitional programme, Trotsky explains:

“Workers no less than capitalists have the right to know the ‘secrets’ of the factory, of the trust, of the whole branch of industry, of the national economy as a whole. First and foremost, banks, heavy industry and centralized transport should be placed under an observation glass. No office holder of the bourgeois state is in a position to carry out this work, no matter with how great authority one would wish to endow him.’

“The immediate tasks of workers’ control should be to explain the debits and credits of society, beginning with individual business undertakings; to determine the actual share of the national income appropriated by individual capitalists and by the exploiters as a whole; to expose the behind-the-scenes deals and swindles of banks and trusts; finally, to reveal to all members of society that unconscionable squandering of human labour which is the result of capitalist anarchy and the naked pursuit of profits.”

There is also another reason. Under capitalism, the market acts a check on production. But in a situation where the market mechanisms are absent, the only way society would know how much of each product it needs, is through the democratic participation of the creators of wealth, namely the workers. Only the workers would know how much of each product is needed and what the best and most efficient way would be to produce it. Under socialism the managers must be subordinate to the workers. Any attempt to impose this from the top would eventually lead to a layer of bureaucrats standing above society with all the assorted vices that go with this, such as waste, corruption and mismanagement.

The idea of nationalisation is an enormous step forward. But it should be carried out under democratic workers’ control and management. The workers must be in the majority in the structures which would run these industries. The best way to guarantee this is to ensure that one third of the structures should be elected by the unions in the industry, one third by the workers on the shop-floor, and only one third by the workers’ government at national level. This would ensure that the state is subordinate to the workers and serves their interests.
Planned Economy

Under the section “Nationalisation of mines, banks and other strategic sectors of the economy”, the founding manifesto of the EFF states:

“Nationalised mineral wealth will in effect constitute a very firm basis for the beneficiation of these products in both heavy and light industrial processes in South Africa, which could be left to industrial and manufacturing entrepreneurs, co-operatives and small and medium enterprises, so as to develop the productive forces of the South African economy, which is still reliant on the production of primary commodities. Instead of relying on neoliberal mechanisms to attract industrial and manufacturing investments to South Africa, such as a narrow fiscal stability, and decreased labour costs, the state, in the ownership of mineral wealth and metals, could provide incentives to reduce prices for the primary and raw commodities, which will be industrialised and beneficiated in South Africa.

‘’Minerals and metals beneficiation will constitute a very firm, sustainable and labour-absorptive industrial process, which will feature both import-substituting and export-led industrialisation. Various other areas of an increased, sustainable and labour absorptive industrial process could be explored within a situation where the production of metals and minerals are nationalised for the benefit of all. Industrial and manufacturing entrepreneurs, co-operatives, and small and medium enterprises from outside and inside South Africa could then be allowed to industrialise the South African economy, with guaranteed rights, and regulated through transformation charters which will lead to skills transfer at all levels of corporations' structures. “

The Marxists propose the expropriation of the mines, banks, industry, transport, etc., in other words, the big capitalists. In this process a fundamental feature of the socialist revolution is to win the middle class (what the EFF programme calls “co-operatives and small and medium enterprises”) over to a revolutionary socialist programme. The middle class, especially the lower layers, is also oppressed by big Capital. The lower layers – the small shopkeepers, small peasants, bank clerks, etc. – stand closer to the working class and can be won over, as Alan Woods explains:

“The nationalization of the banks will enable the government to grant small businesses cheap and easy credit. The nationalization of the big fertilizer plants will enable it to sell cheap fertilizer to the peasants. And by eliminating the middlemen and nationalizing the big supermarkets, distribution and transport companies, we can provide the peasants with a guaranteed market and a fair price for their products, while reducing prices to the consumer.

“The nationalization of the commanding heights of the economy is not an act of aggression or revenge but, on the contrary, a necessary means of defence of the revolution. The measures taken by a revolutionary government are not aimed at the property of the workers and peasants or the small proprietors who make up nine-tenths of the population, but only against the one-tenth of the population who have the lion’s share of property in this society.’’ (Where is the Venezuelan Revolution going? A contribution to the discussion on property and the tasks of the revolution, Alan Woods, 29 October 2010).

Although the programme of the EFF correctly calls for nationalisation, it also mentions “industrial and manufacturing entrepreneurs”, (later “black industrialists”) which could then ‘’be allowed to industrialise the South African economy.’’

The first thing that has to be said is that South Africa already has a highly industrialised economy. It is by far the industrial powerhouse of the African economy. It accounts for about 24 percent of Africa’s gross domestic product. The main road and port network is comparable to that of the advanced capitalist countries. Over 45 percent of the African continent’s electricity is generated in South Africa although generating capacity has not kept up with demand. In addition to this, the country has also some of the world’s largest mineral reserves.

It is true that the masses of the workers and poor do not benefit from this wealth. Therefore, the only solution is to take over the commanding heights of the economy and run them under a centralised democratic plan of production and distribution. The task of the South African revolution is certainly not some form of belated capitalist industrial development. If this was possible to the extent that it could solve the main problems facing the masses then the fight for socialism would be meaningless. No, the market system must be abolished and replaced with a socialist planned economy. Then it would be possible to develop the productive forces to unheard-of levels. Only on this basis can all the most pressing problems of the masses like poverty, unemployment and homelessness be solved.

However, this cannot be done by “industrial and manufacturing entrepreneurs”, local or foreign, provided with “’incentives” and “guaranteed rights”. Neither can it be done by “creating industrialists” whether they are black or white. Marx explained that the emancipation of the working class is the task of the working class. This revolution must be led, directed and executed by the working class at the head of all the oppressed layers of society.
Import controls or a socialist plan of production?

In the article in the City Press quoted above, Shivambu also talks about import controls, which is a topic that frequently arises on the left, especially at times of crisis in the economy. He writes:

“One of the world’s great political economists (?) Robert Wade, said as early as 1990 that ‘market guidance’ in East Asia in essence happened by: » Redistributing agricultural land in the early post-war period. » Controlling the financial system and making private financial capital subordinate to industrial capital. » Maintaining stability in some of the main economic parameters that affected the viability of long-term investment. » Modulating the impact of foreign competition in the domestic economy and prioritising the use of scarce foreign exchange. » Promoting exports. » Promoting technological acquisition from multinational companies and building a national technology system. » Assisting particular industries and introducing industry-specific policies to prevent industrial decline. None of these critical components exist in South Africa’s industrial policy framework and attempts in this regard are uncoordinated.”

To the issue about “making private financial capital subordinate to industrial capital”, the first point has be: if we are ever going to be in a dominant position where we can dictate to Capital in this manner then why stop there? Why not overthrow their rule and take over the means of production?

In his masterpiece, Imperialism, The highest state of Capitalism, Lenin summarizes imperialism as: The concentration of production and capital developed to such a high stage that it created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life. The merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this ‘’financial capital’’, of a ‘’financial oligarchy.’’ The export of capital, which has become extremely important, as distinguished from the export of commodities. The formation of international capitalist monopolies which share the world among themselves. The territorial division of the whole world among the greatest capitalist powers is completed.

From this it is clear that finance and industrial capital are often the same entity (they have “merged”), with finance capital, however, being dominant. This is a natural consequence of the workings of capitalism. Marx explained that free competition will eventually lead to monopolies. Any attempt to restore the dominance of industrial capital over finance capital will be an attempt to turn the wheel of history back more than 100 years, and could only lead to futile attempts to “break up” the monopolies.

Our aim should not be this but to take these monopolies out of the hands of the capitalists, as they have been historically created under capitalism, and place them under public ownership and run them democratically under workers’ control and management for the need of all and not for private profit. Attempts to “guide the market” will only distort the system and thereby create more and more contradictions.

The above quoted article continues to its central point:

“Another important aspect to massive industrial expansion is localisation. As a critical component of this, the state should pass legislation that compels government departments and entities to procure a minimum of 75% of their goods and services locally. This will create jobs and address South Africa’s perennial trade deficit that will cripple its capacity to expand now and in the future.

“The last and perhaps the most important component to industrial expansion is a coherent and dynamic trade policy where the state can impose tariffs on imports and exports. To foster local beneficiation and industrialisation, the trade policy should impose higher duties and taxes on exported raw and semi processed goods and services, and impose higher taxes on imported finished goods and services.”

The idea of imposing import controls sound like an easy fix to the crisis of job losses by “protecting” local industry from cheaper imports and thus supporting exports. However, although the introduction of some import controls could save some industries, this would only be temporary and it would be at the expense of others. Moreover, what would the capitalists in the protected industries do once they are protected from competition and low prices from abroad?

The South African capitalists no longer faced with competition from abroad and seeking to increase their profitability would be free to increase their prices. Meanwhile foreign capitalists would raise the price of the imports of the goods that would be allowed in. This means the workers in general would pay for keeping their jobs by having to buy the goods they need at higher prices, all to the advantage of the capitalists.

There would also be other consequences on a more global scale. The biggest is the commencement of trade wars and retaliatory measures from abroad with disastrous consequences for the South African economy and the working class. Other capitalist countries would not stand idly by and see their exports to South Africa being cut and would therefore impose curbs on imports from South Africa. So while import controls might protect one industry in the short term, they would in the long run be detrimental to employment in other sectors.

This would be the net effect of import controls on a capitalist basis. From a socialist point of view, what is needed is not import controls, but an overall socialist plan of production with a state monopoly of foreign trade. However, in order to execute such a plan, the economy must first be publicly owned and run under democratic control and management of the workers. Production can then be planned in the interest of all. Any attempt under capitalism to cap price increases by the state or to “control” capitalism will lead to all kinds of unforeseen circumstances, including sabotage, as we have seen in the case of Venezuela.

As Marxists have often stressed, “You can’t control what you do not own!” So long as the main economic levers remain within private hands, the capitalist will use this to pressure any “progressive” government to carry out policies that promote profit and not the needs of working people. The only solution to the crisis of unemployment is therefore a socialist programme, which would include such measures as immediately reducing the working week to 35 hours without loss of pay. The work could then be shared out between everyone. The nationalised industries and the banks could be used to raise wages and to massively invest in infrastructure, housing, education, etc., leading to a general improvement in living standards.
“A strong developmental state’’ or a democratic workers’ state?

The question of the state is very important for Marxists. The state is central to the battle for political power between the oppressor and the oppressed. The point is: what is the state? And what role does it play in the struggle for the emancipation of the workers and the oppressed?

The dominant role of the state in the attainment of “economic freedom” is a single thread that runs through the whole programme of the EFF. But what type of state does it envisage?

One of the 7 “cardinal pillars” of the founding manifesto of the EFF is called “Building state and government capacity, which will lead to the abolishment of tenders.” In this section, the idea of a “strong developmental state” is envisaged:

“For a successful state that seeks to drive real economic and industrial development and provide better services, an inspired, skilled, and well-compensated public service is required. The public service should be strengthened for a sustainable transformation of the economy. The ethos of such a state should be developmental and very strong and, hence, consistent with anti-corruption measures. This is emphasised because the task of fundamental economic transformation requires a strong state with the ability to develop a clear strategic vision, and be able to implement and monitor the progress being made.’’

And further:

“A strong developmental state should necessarily have political power and technical capacity to give developmental mandates to state-owned enterprises (SOE) and private corporations. SOE and private sector compliance with the state's developmental targets should not be voluntary, but a mandatory, crucial factor around which the state should be able to use a carrot-and-stick system to enforce. It can never be correct that the state operates only with the "hope" that the still colonial and foreign-owned, and thus unpatriotic, private sector, in particular, will voluntarily underwrite the developmental agenda and pursue the agenda of job creation, poverty reduction and sustainable development with the same vigour that should define government.”

Lack of clarity on the nature of the bourgeois state leads inevitably to fundamental mistakes. The Marxist view is that the state is a machine for class oppression. In a bourgeois democracy, the state serves the fundamental interests of the bourgeoisie. The state came into being with the division of society into classes and will eventually disappear when classes no longer exist.

After the massacre at Marikana in August 2012, this question has occupied renewed attention of many in the workers’ movement. This was a bitter lesson to learn for many. It clearly showed that the state is not under the control of the masses. Rather, it is connected in various ways to the capitalists. Whenever the vital interests of the capitalists are in danger, the state machinery is mobilised in its defence in the name of “the rule of law”. The bourgeoisie is also an international force. Some of the owners of the multinational companies are based in London, Beijing, Frankfurt and New York. Whenever their rule is threatened in any way, they do not hesitate to mobilise the imperialist forces against the South African workers.

The EFF recognise this latter point and correctly concludes that:

“Certainly, the nationalisation of minerals and metals might ignite international condemnation by global imperialists, institutionalised in the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and, notably, the World Trade Organisation. A broader mass movement should be mobilised in South Africa in defence of these massive economic reforms, because they constitute the core of our economic emancipation programme. Mass campaigns on what nationalisation (people and state ownership and control) of minerals, metals and other strategic sectors of the economy will entail should be conducted to garner support from the people as a whole.”

This is the way to fight back against attempts to sabotage, undermine and smash the revolution, but what is also required is to spread the revolution to other counties. Unless that is done, then the imperialists will still have the levers in their hands globally to stifle attempts of any progressive South African government to apply policies in defence of the working people.

One of the important lessons of the revolution in Venezuela is that the mobilised masses are the only guarantee of survival for a left government.. It is the primary reason why the Bolivarian Revolution has survived for the time that it has. On a number of occasions when the Bolivarian revolution was under mortal danger, like the coup against Chavez in 2002, and the 2002-2003 bosses’ lockout, the masses and the workers mobilised and ultimately smashed these attempts by the oligarchs and imperialists.

The Bolivarian Revolution has achieved much. There has been widespread reduction in poverty and illiteracy has been abolished. However, the revolution is still under mortal threat. One of the reasons for this is that the revolution has not been complete. A large part of the economy is still in the hands of the oligarchs, who use this to provoke shortages and carry out all sorts of sabotage in an attempt to discredit the Bolivarian government. Another important reason is that the revolution is also being undermined from within by sections of the Bolivarian bureaucracy itself who are holding the revolution back and stopping it from going all the way, in the belief that some kind of compromise with the business world is necessary.

Under certain conditions, where there is an extremely favourable balance of forces between the classes and in the white heat of revolution, it can happen that the ruling class can even lose control over certain sections of the state as has been the case over the last 15 years in Venezuela. However, although the ruling class can lose direct control, the state apparatus remains that of a bourgeois state and within the movement itself there has remained a bureaucracy which acts like a cancer to the revolution, often undermining and sabotaging it from within. Among this layer the oligarchy can find those elements it can use to derail the revolution from within.
Workers’ democracy

The lessons of the character of the state are being learned on a daily basis by the South African masses, not by reading Lenin’s “State and Revolution”, but through their own experience. Whenever the masses engage in struggles to improve their living conditions, they are met with stern resistance from the security forces. The numerous killings at the hands of the police are a case in point. The most graphic example of this was the Marikana massacre.

In “State and Revolution”, Chapter 3, Lenin explains:

“The only ’correction’ Marx thought it necessary to make to the Communist Manifesto he made on the basis of the revolutionary experience of the Paris Commune… One thing especially was proved by the Commune, viz., that 'the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery and wield it for its own purposes'…

“Most characteristically, it is this important correction that has been distorted by the opportunists, and its meaning probably is not known to nine-tenths, if not ninety-nine-hundredths, of the readers of the Communist Manifesto. We shall deal with this distortion more fully farther on, in a chapter devoted specially to distortions. Here it will be sufficient to note that the current, vulgar “interpretation” of Marx's famous statement just quoted is that Marx here allegedly emphasizes the idea of slow development in contradistinction to the seizure of power, and so on.

As a matter of fact, the exact opposite is the case. Marx's idea is that the working class must break up, smash the "ready-made state machinery", and not confine itself merely to laying hold of it.

“On April 12, 1871, i.e., just at the time of the Commune, Marx wrote to Kugelmann:

‘If you look up the last chapter of my Eighteenth Brumaire, you will find that I declare that the next attempt of the French Revolution will be no longer, as before, to transfer the bureaucratic-military machine from one hand to another, but to smash it [Marx's italics--the original is zerbrechen], and this is the precondition for every real people's revolution on the Continent. And this is what our heroic Party comrades in Paris are attempting.’ (The letters of Marx to Kugelmann have appeared in Russian in no less than two editions, one of which I edited and supplied with a preface.)’

“The words, ‘to smash the bureaucratic-military machine’, briefly express the principal lesson of Marxism regarding the tasks of the proletariat during a revolution in relation to the state. And this is the lesson that has been not only completely ignored, but positively distorted by the prevailing, Kautskyite, ‘interpretation’ of Marxism!”

The fundamental point made by Lenin is that the state under capitalism serves the interests of the capitalists. It is not independent in the class struggle. The existing state machinery cannot simply be taken over nor can it be strengthened in the interests of the working class. Instead, it must be dismantled and replaced by a completely different kind of state, namely a workers’ state, or what Marx calls the “dictatorship of the proletariat.”

Basing themselves on the experience of the Paris Commune of 1871, the Bolsheviks in 1917 immediately replaced the Provisional government with the soviet system and based themselves on the four principles of Lenin, namely:

All officials are to be elected and subject to recall at any time;

Salaries of all state officials should not be higher than that of the average wage of a worker;

Abolition of the army and the police. This was replaced by the arming of the masses.

Gradually the running of the state was rotated, or as they call it ‘’when everyone is a bureaucrat, then no-one is a bureaucrat.’’

In contrast to a “strong developmental” state, a workers’ state consists of armed workers. It is an apparatus for the oppression of the bourgeoisie. But since the capitalists are such a tiny minority, a huge bureaucracy which stands above society is not needed. The workers’ state will, in effect be a “semi-state” which is designed in such a way that it will disappear over time, or as Engels calls it “wither away.”
Socialism and nationalism

The radical and fresh approach of the EFF attracts all kinds of elements to the party, including those who are openly flirting with black nationalism. One of the negative features which could bedevil the struggle for genuine freedom is precisely the poison of nationalism. This was clearly shown in 2008 with the scenes of xenophobic violence where poor black South Africans turned on many poor black people mainly from other African countries, killing many. These heinous acts can be directly attributed to the social conditions experienced by many of the poor. It is also a direct result of the failure of mass organisations of the working class to offer a socialist alternative. The direct consequence was that many saw the source of their plight in the nationality of many foreigners who were also eking out a living on the streets.

This must be a stark warning of the poisonous effects of nationalism. Socialists must be resolutely opposed to all forms of nationalism and racialism, which only serve to divide the working class. It is true that black South Africans have had to bare the brunt of brutal racial oppression. It is equally true that many black people face racial discrimination to this very day. But it is important to understand that all forms of oppression, be it racial, gender or national oppression, has its origins in the division of society into classes. The only way to begin to solve these problems is to change their material roots, unite the working class and fight for socialism.

Socialism is internationalist by its very nature. There cannot be any notion of an ‘’African road to socialism.’’ This is because the capitalist system developed as a global system, as Marx and Engels explained in the Communist Manifesto:

“The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere.”

The world is dominated by multinational companies which have operations all over the world. Capitalist production is an objective process. The worker sells his labour power to the capitalist in return for a wage. In the process of production, the labour power of the worker creates more value than he/she receives back in wages. This surplus value is expropriated by the owner of the means of production, namely the capitalist. This “expropriation” of the surplus value is the source of the exploitation of the working class. It is also the fundamental reason for the struggle of classes. It does not matter if the capitalist or the worker is white or black. The outcome is still the same.

This can clearly be seen in South Africa today. Over the last couple of years some of the most brutal exploitation of the black working class has been happening precisely at the hands of black capitalists such as Cyril Ramaphosa. In fact, Ramaphosa has more shared interests with white and foreign capitalists than he has with black South African workers, as was so tragically but clearly revealed in Marikana. The workers of South Africa have more in common with the workers of other countries than they have with black capitalists. Our aim should not be to “create black industrialists”, but to overthrow the rule of the capitalists altogether – black and white. The best way to do this is to unite the workers of the world under the banner of solidarity and socialism.
A non sectarianism approach needed

Early in August this year, the metal workers’ union, NUMSA hosted a symposium on Left political parties and movements. This was part of the union’s 2013 special congress resolutions to set up structures to unite workers’ and community struggles and to build a movement for socialism.

Parties and movements locally and abroad took part in the symposium, including Evo Morales’ MAS-IPSP of Bolivia. The union was in the process of learning from the experiences of left parties from Latin America and around the world. The EFF was also invited to the symposium, but unfortunately they did not attend, citing two reasons: (1) that NUMSA had not granted them a meeting, and (2) that NUMSA was still at that time part of the ruling alliance through COSATU.

In their statement we read the following:

“EFF is not in the business of saving the ANC or being trapped in the nostalgia of its former self as a liberation movement; the plan is to crush it and do so without any sunset clauses. The EFF is unashamedly in pursuit of a programme to take political power from the ANC led alliance, because they have thus far used such power to protect the interests of the capitalist class.

“Nevertheless, the EFF wishes NUMSA and all international Left forces that will partake in the Symposium a great success with the hope that a truly genuine left program can emerge. As for the EFF, sharing platforms with the ANC and SACP to discuss joint socialist programs will be an indictment against the souls of the 34 Marikana workers for whom justice is still not served.”

We feel that this is not the best way of approaching the question. The first reason given for not attending the symposium was that NUMSA had not yet met with them. But at that stage NUMSA was still going through its internal democratic processes. It did not meet the EFF or any other party or movement at that stage. This, indeed was what the symposium was for, i.e. to meet other parties, share experiences and discuss the way forward.

The second approach given here is equally mistaken. The impression given here was that NUMSA first had to break with COSATU which in turn is part of the alliance with the ANC. The current issues in COSATU led to the eventual expulsion of NUMSA and a split in the federation is on the cards. But it is no easy matter walking away from hundreds of thousands of workers and leaving them in the hands of their right-wing leaders. All the problems plaguing the federation, including NUMSA’s expulsion, must be placed on the shoulders of the right wing reformist forces inside COSATU. What is important to understand is not organisational independence but political independence, which NUMSA has. Whether inside or outside COSATU, the task remains the same: explain to all workers the the origins of the problems, expose the right wing of the federation, win the workers over to a socialist programme and offer a revolutionary way out.

NUMSA has made some excellent analyses of the current political situation and has put forward some far-reaching proposals for the way forward. Therefore, the charge by the EFF that there is ‘’no clarity, for instance, whether the current differences in COSATU are deeper ideological differences, or political differences’’ is off the mark. NUMSA has categorically defined them as rooted in the class struggle when it stated:

“We have boldly maintained that at the heart of the crisis in COSATU are two opposing forces: the forces of capitalism and the forces of socialism. The capitalist forces within the Federation seek to make workers to understand and tolerate the continuation of white monopoly capitalist domination, by accepting elements of the neoliberal NDP.”

NUMSA is not just any organisation on the fringes of the workers’ movement. It is the country’s biggest union. It represents some of the heavy battalions of the workers’ movement. It is in the process of setting up local, regional and national structures to mobilise and coordinate all the thousands of struggles by workers and communities on a class basis. They have been engaging in attempts to educate their cadres in Marxist theory. It is also the catalyst behind a Movement for Socialism which is expected to take shape soon. They have come out very strongly against the Marikana killings and have a standing position not to sit idly by in similar circumstances in the future.

As it turned out, the ANC and SACP tops ran a mile from the symposium. This only served to expose them even further.

It was therefore a mistake to dismiss NUMSA in this manner. If such errors are allowed to continue in the future, there would be a real danger of cutting the EFF off from the leading layers of the workers’ movement.

While it is correct to criticise and expose the rotten leadership of the ANC and SACP, it is equally necessary not to see these organisations as one reactionary bloc. There have also been a few unfortunate instances of physical confrontations with members of the ANC YL. It is a fundamental mistake to confuse the leaders with the ranks of the organisation. There is a big distance between the two. It is necessary to have a correct orientation to the ranks of the movement. The task is to patiently explain the shortcomings of the ANC tops and to develop a clear socialist alternative to the ranks of the tripartite alliance.

In the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels wrote about such matters in the following way:

‘’In what relation do the Communists stand to the proletarians as a whole? The Communists do not form a separate party opposed to the other working-class parties. They have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole. They do not set up any sectarian principles of their own, by which to shape and mould the proletarian movement.

‘’The Communists are distinguished from the other working-class parties by this only: 1. In the national struggles of the proletarians of the different countries, they point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat, independently of all nationality. 2. In the various stages of development which the struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, they always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole.’’

These words adequately express the Marxist approach to the rest of the workers’ movement. We maintain an absolute independent political stance, making no concessions on principled questions, but we apply the maximum flexibility in how we take these same principled positions to the mass of workers and youth who may have illusions in the present leaders of the organisations they belong to. Our approach is the same of Marx and Lenin: mild in manner, but bold in content!
Conclusion

The objective conditions to mobilise the masses towards socialism have never been more favourable. There is an enormous thirst for Marxist ideas and a genuine desire for revolutionary change. Under capitalism there is no future for the working class and youth. By having a clear perspective for socialism, for taking over the commanding heights of the economy under workers’ control and management, the enormous wealth of South African society could be used for the benefit of all and not for the parasitic capitalist class. Under these conditions, the quality of life would improve to unheard of levels. It would be a revolution for genuine liberation, i.e. liberation from this exploitative capitalist system and not just from one form of rule of the bourgeoisie to another.

The EFF leader, Julius Malema has boldly stood up against the status quo and has been willing to disregard the unwritten rules of bourgeois parliamentary democracy and expose the rottenness of the bourgeoisie. For this the masses respect him. However, there is another side to him. His associations with dubious elements and lumpen characters and also his propensity for the high life, gives him a dual image in the eyes of working people, and also facilitates the ruling class in their offensive against the movement as a whole. This is certainly no small matter and could become a serious problem for the movement in the future.

There has been mass radicalisation of the youth over the last period. The Economic Freedom Fighters are a clear reflection of this. The workers have shown their willingness to struggle again and again. The leading layers of the working class are on the move. South Africa has indeed one of the strongest working classes in the world with revolutionary traditions second to none and they are very well organised in mass organisations.

What is needed is a mass Marxist cadre organisation which is educated in the genuine ideas, methods and traditions of Marxism. Such a Marxist leadership cannot simply be declared. It must be patiently built up, starting with finding, recruiting and educating the ones and twos.

The task of such a party would be to orientate themselves to the mass of workers wherever they are and patiently explain the alternative to the current situation. It is therefore our duty to develop a clear revolutionary programme which links the everyday struggles of the masses with the aim of winning them to socialism.
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Realizing Africa's Youth Potential: Africa needs investors to create jobs for its youth, and develop skills

Realizing Africa's Youth Potential: Africa needs investors to create jobs for its youth, and develop skills | Africa's Youth | Scoop.it
Africa is fortunate. Unlike more industrialized countries and even some industrializing countries like China, Africa is endowed with a much younger population. This could offer a tremendous comparative advantage in years to come that could propel the continent forward as a dynamic and productive engine of growth for the entire world. As elucidated by the UNFPA, “A window of economic and social growth occurs when the working age population becomes larger than people of non-working age…” making significantly higher growth rates possible as “the state faces fewer costs associated with children and the elderly”. But for Africa to realize this advantage, it needs two things: investment to create good jobs, and the young people with the skills to fill them.

According to the United Nations, persons between 15 and 24 comprise a fifth of the world’s population with the vast majority living in developing countries . But, at present in Africa, this cohort accounts for almost two thirds of the unemployed. While there has been no shortage of initiatives to tackle the youth “issue”, these have been at the social margin with mixed results. Policy reforms and donor support have included both supply and demand side activities, mostly directed to investment in public services complimentary to the private sector which, while necessary, have not been sufficient.


This is not to say that inclusiveness, efficiency and quality in the basic public goods for young people at an early age - education and health - are not important. Chronic malnutrition for a child of less than two, means that that child will never reach his/her intellectual potential and will probably not have more income (from legal sources) than his or her parents. Children, from the womb, need be considered national assets - or “public goods” and investments made early on in their health and nutrition and in quality education from the level of pre-school upwards. A top UN official recently highlighted this, by saying that "if Africa [like] East Asia, adapts to its local context and makes comparable investments in young people, the region could...[add] as much as 500 billion U.S. dollars to its economy every year for as many as 30 years." resulting in “the total transformation of Africa."

But the hard reality is that, public investment needs to be mostly funded by revenue from the private sector and that each job requires a certain investment for which, in aggregate, there is insufficient fiscal room or donor largess, or insufficient political will, (or a combination of the three) to address what is needed. Most investments in Africa have been in capital intensive extractive sectors that, unlike more factor balanced investments, have not generated the human resource supply responses for value addition, and the related human resource development, at the quality and scale necessary. Government and donor policy interventions so far have not succeeded in making value addition in Africa more attractive for investors, including evidently for capital flight.

Africa urgently needs a policy perspective that looks to private investment as the fiscal engine to generate the public goods for youth, which the state cannot already supply. The policy paradigm needs to shift to see a healthy and basic educated youth, more as a competitive and market opportunity to be promoted to investors rather than a social problem hungry for public services to be supported by aid. The rationale for the private sector is also compelling, as youth incomes can disproportionately drive demand, including for credit, through increased household and family formation.

Changing policy priorities is not easy. The dearth of evidence on what works and what does not, may have undermined the argument for greater policy and donor emphasis on investment for value addition in Africa. Most interventions have not been adequately evaluated. Programs have presumed what the obstacles to youth employment are and how best these can be removed. The causes of failure have not been clearly diagnosed. Some of the information gap can be attributed to informality in Africa. However, the lack of survey information goes beyond the informal sector to the formal sector. More rigorous diagnostic studies are needed to identify the binding constraints to investment in value addition and youth employment. But the quest for perfect information should not be cause for inaction.

The consequences otherwise, are foreboding. Poverty and deprivation accompanies youth unemployment. A key lesson from Senegal’s election violence was that youth unemployment can fuel the fire of political violence and civil unrest. A World Bank survey in 2011 showed that about 40% of those who join rebel movements say they are motivated by a lack of jobs. The policy perspective and priorities must change and they must change soon.

The bottom line for policy makers, private sector and donors is that it cannot be business as usual any longer in Africa. The opportunity cost of another generation lost is too high. The contagion from inaction will leave no one untouched. Policy makers and donors must undertake the systematic diagnostic needed, and, more importantly, act on the results.

With input from my summer intern Ms. Sona Nahapetyan, who helped gather useful data for this blog.
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African Youth Union Green Campaign

African Youth Union Green Campaign Keep Mama Africa Green AYU GREEN CAMPAIGN
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African Youth Union

African Youth Union | Africa's Youth | Scoop.it
THE 4TH AFRICAN YOUTH UNION SUMMIT
AYU is pleased to announce its 4th annual summit that shall be co-hosted with the government of Uganda. The 4th annual summit is the first youth conference on regional integration of Africa in the history of this world. The summit shall bring together at least 300 young African leaders across the continent and 50 outside the continent. The summit shall be preceded with national coordinators’ meeting that shall last for two days. More details and updates about the summit are available on our website and in the summit concept.



The AYU Green campaign seeks to empower young people with knowledge to protect Africa’s natural resources and to sustainably use them. The campaign brings together young Africans to demand action from their leaders and real change. The time is now to speak out and spread the truth about climate change so that we empower and inspire others to work toward solutions

Young people, being the continent’s majority demographic group, deserve the most attention and involvement in the political, social and economic affairs of their continent but alas, there is hardly any attention given to them. From regional bodies to national governments, the youth are not prioritized which poses a big threat to Africa’s future.



Mentor the Young African program is our unique initiative that grooms and mentors African young people aged 16-25 in the areas of entrepreneurship, leadership and career guidance. The program helps young people discover their hidden talents, polish their skills, make informed career decisions and equip them with practical knowledge.
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The African Youth Union (AYU)

The African Youth Union (AYU) | Africa's Youth | Scoop.it
About AYU

The African Youth Union (AYU) is a Pan-African youth organisation that boasts the largest youth representation in Africa. The AYU seeks to bridge the gap between the youth and government, and acts as a conduit between the youth and regional bodies such as the African Union, Southern African Development Community, Economic Community of West African States and the East African Community, amongst others.

AYU seeks to supplement state-level processes by deepening the continent’s integration through a bottom-up process, that places the people (and youth of Africa) at the centre of regional integration and Pan-Africanism through social entrepreneurship, hosting summits and events, encouraging collaboration between non-profit organisations, youth leadership training and development.
Vision

To make African Youth active and productive citizens who can contribute to a unified, peaceful and prosperous Africa.
Mission

To empower young Africans to be the architects of the future, and to be actual players in the political, social and economic development of Africa
Objectives

To promote active youth participation at national, regional and international level
To promote and protect African Youth rights in accordance with the African Youth Charter.
To protect, save and conserve Africa's natural resources.
To promote research in all fields at all levels.
To address and promote channels of discussing and articulating socioeconomic issues that inhibit the capacity of the youth.
To focus specifically on the search for universal access to quality education, matching skills to the labour market, stunting jobless growth, and encouraging enterprise and entrepreneurship as a means to counter youth unemployment.
To focus on social issues such as teenage pregnancy, illegal abortions, early marriages, child headed households, gender based violence and discrimination, and substance abuse.


Tim Mugerwa
President
African Youth Union

Iris Nxumalo
Summit Cordinator
African Youth Union

Sali Jacob
Africa Youth Union

Ndobuso Ndlovu
International Relations
African Youth Union

Renecia
African Youth Union

Soji Aknilab
African Youth Union

Lindelwa
African Youth Union

Get Involved

You can get involved in one or more programs by supporting our work through volunteering, mentoring or donating.
To support us, use our contact details to learn more.
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Thought leadership: Africa’s very future depends on STEM education

Thought leadership: Africa’s very future depends on STEM education | Africa's Youth | Scoop.it
STEM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. In the last two years in Africa it has been used gloomily by a few organisations as part of their ICT programmes, either as their way of investment in education, or as a way of promoting technology and innovation.
Africa’s workforces need reinventing through STEM education, or else the continent's economies are doomed, writes Senegalese-born businesswomen Mariéme Jamme.

Africa’s workforces need reinventing through STEM education, or else the continent’s economies are doomed, writes Senegalese-born businesswomen Mariéme Jamme.

However, STEM must not be just a jargon used to make any company look trendy in fancy reports, or concealing their failure in helping the future workforce without clear and tangible plans.

Each year, the United States invests billions in STEM education and workforce development. They know that over 70% of their domestic and international jobs will require core STEM skills.

But the African continent hasn’t got a robust strategic plan on STEM policies, or even a clear road map or framework of implementing them effectively. It is not even clear if some national leaders understand their importance or meaning.

Consider, for a second, the exploitation of Africa’s natural resources such as the bauxite in Guinea and Ghana. If the governments had a clear strategy on STEM policies, more cartographers could be drawing maps locally rather than outsourcing it in Europe.

If we had many well-trained engineers, they could operate machines and build railroads and motorways. If we invested in R&D with our own scientists, we will able to prevent disease outbreaks like Ebola. If we invested in our tech entrepreneurs and innovators we would be able to resolve local problems with local solutions.

But instead China and the US are doing this for Africa with a hidden price. If we invested in our economists, we would be able to prevent the speculative data that embarrassed Africa and Nigeria in particular.

This infrastructure building failure is actually destroying the ability for African governments to invest in STEM for the future. We surely want to have smooth roads in Lagos, Lusaka or Maputo, but if we do not insist that our people be given solid STEM skills, surely we will be losing out as a continent.

Currently in Africa, most STEM work is performed by, or outsourced to, multinationals from China, India and the US.

Africa will need a new generation of accountants, auditors, creators, makers, designers, mathematics and science teachers, engineers and so on. All these jobs require a minimum of skills in STEM. Who is thinking of this now in Africa? Who is taking this seriously?

African governments are signing infrastructure contracts with the west but hardly demanding their future workforce be trained in something I find so crucial for its development.

Thousands of Americans and Chinese are working annually in Africa in high-skilled STEM jobs that are reducing African ingenuity. Then people complain about a lack of jobs for youth.

The term STEM is not yet widely understood in Africa. Its implementation within the education systems is catastrophically poor despite the fact many ICT ministers collect millions for programmes related to these subjects.

You just need to spend time in the corridors of the Ministries of Education and ICT in Africa to realise that the word STEM is simply a laxative jargon that allows them to fundraise and make themselves look like they are part of the conversation.

In fact we are nowhere near what needs to be done for our youth – and they are the future of Africa. Companies are already struggling to find skilled employees with STEM knowledge. Over the next decade, African employers could expect to have many thousands of job openings requiring basic STEM literacy, and many more people will need advanced STEM knowledge.

For years I have been advocating for good education policies in Africa and the real implementation of STEM subjects into our education system, and nothing has been done. Today, Rwanda and South Africa are the only countries that have even been looking at this subject.

Africa is crying out for skilled young people in every single country. The mismatch between their current skills and what companies need is getting wider. Youth unemployment is extremely high despite so much money disappearing through back doors every year.

Millions of young people could find jobs if our STEM policies were given priority. Trained STEM graduates are great contributors to the African economy. Why can’t governments understand this? While Africa makes up 15% of the world population, its research and development capacity is untapped.

Governments could do so much by looking into their education policies and making STEM subjects their number one priority. This will also hugely improve Africa’s position in the globally competitive knowledge economy.

Coming 2015 is a big year for Africa due to the fact that the same organisations that have failed the African education system, in conspiracy with the African governments, will celebrate the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) without regard to past errors made.

The MDGs were big foolish ideas that have let Africans down, and I hope the sustainable development goals will heavily focus on the STEM subjects as Africa sorely needs a world-class workforce in the next decade.

Otherwise we are doomed.

Mariéme Jamme is a Senegalese-born businesswomen, technologist, international speaker, blogger and the co-founder of Africa Gathering. She is also the founder and CEO of the London-based technology consultancy business, SpotOne Global Solutions.
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Towards Youthful, Useful Youth Policy

Towards Youthful, Useful Youth Policy | Africa's Youth | Scoop.it

Youth is more than an age group, it is a culturally constructed and historically influenced social position. As a demographic, its role in society has evolved significantly in the last twenty years.

In 1995 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the ‘World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond’ (WPAY). Two decades after the resolution, the first Global Forum on Youth Policies took place in Baku, Azerbaijan from October 28-30 to examine the progress in youth policies since (WPAY) and ‘to take youth policies forward in the twenty-first century’. The event, organised by the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, UNDP, UNESCO, the Council of Europe and the Republic of Azerbaijan, brought more than 700 youth experts, activists, government representatives and academics together from all over the globe.

They concluded that global youth policy is challenged, both in terms of inclusiveness and efficiency. It called for the implementation of relevant, sustainable and legitimate youth policy processes that would be dynamic and accountable.


Currently, more than 120 countries have youth policies. However, debates on the relevance of specialised youth ministries dominate the global, continental and national youth policy debates.

Africa has more young people than any other continent. At present, 65pc of the total population of Africa are below the age of 35. According to a UNICEF report The Generation 2030/Africa Report, in 2050 Africa’s under-18 population will reach one billion, making up two-thirds of the continent’s population. The report also noted that in 2050 40pc of all children in the world will be African, up from only 10pc in 1950. It observed that a legitimate youth policy was needed to help the continent and individual countries harness the demographic dividend.


As a dynamic, resilient, energetic and creative section of society, youths can be a social capital. However, they face unemployment, underemployment, poor access to education, health and finance, and poor access to civil and democratic participation. Failing to acknowledge the young as major stakeholders of today, while promoting the narrative of ‘tomorrow’s leaders’ will only further alienate this demographic. Such discourses could create ‘the young and restless’ or ‘the young and the violent’.


The African Union endorsed the African Youth Charter (AYC) in July 2006 to support actions for youth development in Africa. The ‘Youth Decade Plan of Action 2009-2018’ roadmap was also declared by the Union to promote and help implement the Charter. However, for a continent that is experiencing a ‘Benjamin Button’ scenario, youth matters are still managed by the understaffed and under-resourced youth division, under the Department of Human Resource Science & Technology (HRST).


Ethiopia’s case is no different. Consider the evolution of the institutional set-ups under the incumbent regime. For instance, in the first parliament from 1995-2000, youth issues were not considered important enough to be part of the government’s cabinet. So youth issues were marginalised to the regional Bureaus of Youth Affairs. From 2000-2005 the Ministry of Youth and Sports was established.

One of the lasting legacies of this Ministry is its success in producing the first ever National Youth Policy of Ethiopia in 2004. From 2005-2010 the Ministry added another portfolio, amalgamating departments, resulting in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. In the incumbent 2010-2015 government, youth issues are addressed by the Ministry of Women, Children and Youths.


While the Ethiopian government has attempted to address the issues of youth at a ministerial level, the manner in which it is institutionally incorporated raises critical questions. Why is the regime unable to maintain a consistent institutional framework in its consecutive governments? Does it show a lack of focus or will the government adequately address Ethiopian youth issues? Is the current Ministry of Women, Children and Youths capable, both technically and financially, deal with the diversified challenges and opportunities of Ethiopian youth, without subordinating it to the agendas of women and children? Given the trend of the last fifteen years, what can we expect from the new government,after May 2015 election? How will the youth agenda be addressed beyond the level of rhetoric?


Having a Ministry responsible for youth is not an end in itself. Dominant discourses about youth, how it is reflected in the policies and legal documents and also how effective and capable the ministry is at addressing youth issues are of greater concern. A pioneering youth-focused government document is the Vagrancy Control Proclamation No. 384/2004, known in Amharic as Ye Adegegna Bozene Proclamation. The proclamation defined youth negatively as beings that “disturb the tranquility” of society through publicly unacceptable practices and illegal and immoral activities. The proclamation’s prime purpose was control, punishment and rehabilitation.


Surprisingly, in less than three months of enacting the Vagrancy Proclamation, the government passed the National Youth Policy, in March 2004. This was aimed to ‘create an empowered young generation with a democratic outlook and ideals’ with an objective ‘to bring about the active participation of youth in the building of a democratic system and good governance.’ It then developed a five year strategic plan and a 10 year sectorial development plan based on the policy, but this was replaced then by the Youth Development Package document of the former Prime Minister’s office.


This has apparently become one of the most successful political interventions in youth policy, particularly with regard to creating job opportunities in urban areas. Perhaps the EPRDF regime learned from the 2005 election and started to approach youth issues, particularly in urban areas, wisely. Discourse has evolved dramatically, from youths being viewed as vagrants and delinquents, to them being crowned as the engines of the country’s economic growth and development. The youth league of the ruling party came into existence in May 2009. Furthermore, the late Prime Minister sat with more than 7,000 youths, answering their questions in two ‘national conferences’ (August 2007 and February 2009). While most participants were specially pre-selected, it is still a sign that the government has become more strategic on the youth agenda.


These conferences paved the way for the establishment of the National Youth Council. However, this became too politicised when it fell under extensions of the ruling party, the pre-existing regional youth associations and the youth league. As is the case in many African countries, the national youth council suffered from political processes.

The incumbent regime is in a better position to recognise both the danger of disregarding the youth generation and the importance of fostering an enabling environment. Big advances are required, most essentially nurturing an inclusive and far-sighted political system. Policies and institutions cannot function by themselves unless the people driving them are convinced.


The political incentives of announcing the youth development package were more important than the policy and its implementation; the policy is now considered an obsolete document. A revision of the existing youth policy to fit into the current national, continental and global context is required. The review process must be as inclusive as possible by bringing all stakeholders into the sphere, so that it can be owned by all people it affects. Furthermore, the government infrastructure for dealing with youth issues needs a clearer framework so that policies and packages become more than just rhetoric.

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Labour market transitions of young women and men in Sub-Saharan Africa

Labour market transitions of young women and men in Sub-Saharan Africa | Africa's Youth | Scoop.it

Constituents from eight Sub-Saharan countries are to share and discuss the findings of school-to-work transition surveys (SWTS) conducted in their countries within the Work4Youth (W4Y) project.

Type:MeetingWhen:3 - 4 December 2013Where:Capital Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Agenda  of the Work4Youth Regional Conference for Sub-Saharan Africa

BackgroundEight Sub-Saharan countries (Benin, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia) have gone through a school-to-work transition surveys (SWTS) and drafted analytic reports to summarize the findings.The first regional report – Labour market transitions of young women and men in Sub-Saharan Africa – is currently being drafted and will be ready for dissemination in December 2013.

Governments’, workers’ and employers’ representatives from the eight sub-Saharan African countries covered by the study, as well as senior officials from Ethiopia and observers from regional and international institutions, civil society and development partners, are taking part in a two-day conference to discuss their experience within the Work4Youth project, to validate the regional report and discuss good practices in youth employment policy and programmes in the region.

The workshop will offer an opportunity for strategizing around current ILO initiatives in the African region, including technical cooperation under the W4Y and other projects, and within the framework of the Joint Initiative on Youth Employment (involving also the African Union, AfDB and UNECA). >> Read more
 


Objective of the meeting
  • Participants have better awareness of the findings of the Work4Youth research work in the Sub-Saharan African region and have expressed their feedback on the findings themselves and on the data collection process;
  • Participants are more familiar with how statistical evidence can support policy design and monitoring;
  • Participants have better awareness of policy options toward improved labour market transitions of young people in the region.

For more information or interview requests, please contact the Regional office for Africa, Tel: +251 911 21 81 15, guebray@ilo.org , the ILO Department of Communications (communication@ilo.org  Tel: +4122/799-7912).

Tags: decent work, youth employment, youth

Regions and countries covered: Africa, Liberia, Togo, Uganda, Malawi, Tanzania, United Republic of, Zambia, Benin, Madagascar

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