As most of the developed economies are worrying about aging populations, the situation is rather different in Africa. The residents in most countries are the youth. The section of the population holds significant potential for the respective countries and the country as a whole. However, most countries do not fully recognize the opportunities these individuals pose. The lack of attention leads these youth to extremism. Thus it is important to engage our young to counter terrorism.
First, we can engage the youth through investing more in arts and the entertainment industry. There is a growing interest in culture and art in Africa. In addition, the younger generation has always had an interest in entertainment. Accordingly, if as a continent we invested more in this sector of the economy then it would take in a vital portion of our youth. It can offer employment to countless young people across the continent. It can be a way of actively engaging our youth, the result of which is a generation grounded in its culture and people. It is harder for such persons to be influenced by terrorism.
Next, the government and the various youth-based organizations could start mentorship programs, especially in at-risk areas. This approach is a creative way to engage the youth. Mentorship programs offer the youth, in such places, with an opportunity to see a different perspective in life. For example, a young individual who is confused about his place in life can be easily influenced by terror recruitment. However, given a mentor who can orient them on the most appropriate career paths such individuals will likely find their place in the community and contribute positively. Mentorship programs have been proved to be transformative to the lives of the youth participating in them. Hence it is a great way to engage our younger generation.
Moreover, we can promote constructive conversations through the media in order to reach our youth. It is no secret that they are the internet generation. Thus we should meet them on the platforms that they are most comfortable engaging. These include social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter among others. Radicalization is progressively being done on the internet. Accordingly, we can counter this trend by offering positive conversations to engage the youth. We can start by hiring social media experts that are young and understand their peers to manage these conversations. In doing so, we are providing employment to a section of our youth to engage the remainder positively on the internet. That is a win-win situation in my opinion.
Finally, we can engage our younger generation through capacity building. This approach primarily entails the Technical and Vocational Training (TVET). Not everyone is an academic. As a result, only a small segment of the youth attends university compared to the entire populous. The ones who are left out have very few alternatives in life. TVET can be a great solution to this dilemma as it offers them with skills that are in demand in the economy thus actively engaging them.