Of Africa’s nearly 420 million youth aged 15-35, one-third are unemployed and discouraged, another third are vulnerably employed, and only one in six is in wage employment. Youth face roughly doubles the unemployment rate of adults, with significant variation by country. A continent with so much potential but with less to boast of, African youths facing one of the worst challenges in the continent’s history. With the unemployment rate on the surge in many African countries, many are left with no choice but to cross the Mediterranean sea with little hope of survival whilst trying to reach Europe for a better life. Even though these challenges are universal, Africa seems to be leading amongst others.
Amidst the numerous challenges young Africans have taken the mantle to challenge the system, which has placed them in a state of distress, by creating employment for themselves in various industries; especially the tech industry which has been revolutionized into billions of dollars industry. With the emergence of FinTech and E-commerce, many young people in Africa have stepped on the opportunity to change the narrative by creating solutions using technology. Just a few months ago, two of Nigeria’s biggest FinTech companies owned by young Nigerians with an average age between 25-35 made headlines after their companies is being bought for billions of Naira by a Western Fintech company.
It’s no doubt that the youth in Africa are amongst the smartest in the world and they can thrive in any society. In the case of Senegal, a former French colony, many youths have to wake up every morning with uncertainty wrapped in their faces. Despite their potentials, Senegalese youths, like any other youths in Africa, are faced with many difficulties which hinder their growth thus leading them to resort to violent activities and drugs that could harm them.
To curb these issues in his home country of Senegal, Demba Ndiath gives us “A Possible Solution To Solve The Problems of Senegalese Youth”
“This project stems from my interest as a young person, for Senegalese youth who face many difficulties despite their exceptional potential.
During a recent trip to Israel on behalf of my international MBA studies, I had the chance to visit some military bases and chat with officers from that country.
I was struck by the fact that young people were led very early on to be leaders and take on great responsibilities at a very early age. Better still, thanks to compulsory military service, they have the possibility of acquiring technical and professional knowledge two years or so, before going to university. They are thus prepared to better face the job market even before having a diploma. One of the officers with whom I spoke a lot was passionate about photography, after his enlistment he was assigned to a unit that deals with surveillance and 3D imaging. During his service, he was able to develop capacities in this field thanks to his work as a military photographer with the latest generation equipment made available to him. He resided in Boston in the United States,
Now armed with his technical knowledge, acquired during his military training and his leadership qualities, he was prepared not to work for someone or to submit resumes, but to open his own business in 3D photography upon leaving service. . It should also be added that the Israeli army has a system of financing at the end of military service for those who want to use their inventions found during military service. One of the secrets of this creativity is that most technological inventions are responses to combat situations where the survival instinct is strained. These war inventions are subsequently adapted to civilian needs. For example, they are asked to detect a terrorist who intends to detonate a bomb through artificial intelligence technology and facial recognition. This is how a start-up like ARBE, specializing in artificial intelligence and radar detection for trains and planes, was born. Other start-ups like BINAH.AI, have taken the same path. This, created by ex-army officers, has set up an application that allows a complete medical diagnosis of a patient (heart rate, blood pressure, etc.) just by posing his face in front of a camera. or his phone.
Thus Israel, with nearly 9 million inhabitants, has more start-ups in new technologies per capita than the great powers such as Japan, China, the United States, only nearly 70 years after it declares Independence.
This achievement is for many people I have spoken with due to the benefits of Israeli military service. The book ‘start-up Nation’ by Dan Senor and Saul Singer deals more fully with this subject.
Military service thus constitutes a rigorous framework where young people can develop their skills to become entrepreneurs, create a personal and professional network while becoming a patriot.
From the age of 15, these young people are subjected to psycho-technical examinations to assess their capacities. This assessment will guide them to the branches of the Israeli army where they have the most skills. It is true that the State of Israel has financial means and geopolitical challenges that are different from ours, but their experience can allow us to resolve certain challenges that our youth has been facing for years. Indeed, the regimes that have succeeded in power have spent several billion through funding bodies such as the DER, the ANPEJ without being able to provide lasting solutions to these major challenges of Senegalese youth. Today, I think it is important to reverse the approach by empowering young people and allowing them to develop professionally, physically, and morally instead of always waiting for it to come from a welfare state.
Some challenges of the Senegalese Youth:
These major challenges can be summarized in two main groups:
1- Lack of training and education
2- Lack of employment and substantial income
According to a recent report from the National Statistics and Demography Agency of Senegal:
– 65% of the population of Senegal is under 25 years old
– The average age of the population is 19 years old.
-The youth unemployment rate is 15%
We also note that many young people have over the years lost hope in their country and resort to illegal immigration at the risk of their lives.
According to the International Organization for Migration, in 2016, 10,327 young Senegalese took the paths of illegal emigration and nearly 1,269 West and North Africans perished in the Mediterranean. Last year, 140 Senegalese migrants perished off Senegal in the “deadliest shipwreck of the year” according to the world organization for migration
Among the many reasons that justify this phenomenon we can cite: the lack of fishery resources, unemployment, rural exodus due to drought and precarious agricultural income, etc.
Given these many challenges, Senegalese civic and military service (SCMS) could constitute a possible solution.
Most of the great powers have resorted to compulsory or voluntary military service once in their history. Germany, China, the United States and others were all fortunate enough to be able to shape the kind of citizen they wanted to have, to take charge of their nation’s destiny at different historical times.
Today the education of our young people is left in the hands of the Western school, the Koranic school, the socio-family base and the Senegalese and Western television series. In addition, Senegal soon to be an oil and gas country, surrounded by neighbors plagued by security instabilities, could find in this project a pool of talent to strengthen its security and solve the various problems of its youth. It is true that we already have a voluntary civic service, but it could be improved by serving as a base for this new SMCS.
A more in-depth study carried out by a commission made up of experts from the educational, sports and military sectors could make it possible to determine the following elements:
-The method of winding
-The content of the service
-The length of service for men and women
– The obligatory nature or not of the service
-The advantages to be granted to the recipients as motivation. For example: the beneficiaries of the program could be privileged within the framework of certain public jobs. Other social and financial benefits such as scholarships could be granted subject to the completion of this program for suitable people.
In fact, in 2018 nearly 120,000 young people living in Senegal and abroad benefited from a scholarship or university aid without any compensation. Meanwhile, the majority of young Senegalese without university training has no access to any public funding. Through this service, we can create a system of return of patriotic lift and equity in the redistribution of national resources.
Inspired by the Israeli military service, the National Youth Corp Service of Nigeria, and the current French National Universal service project. This SCMS will help shape the Senegalese of tomorrow.
Senegal, which has not experienced any major conflict, apart from the rebellion in Casamance, has a workforce of more than 17,000 people. The latter could help within the framework of this project.
Thus, it is hoped that the SCMS could make it possible, among others, to achieve the following objectives:
-Training in civic-mindedness through military rigor
-Learning the history of Senegal and Senegalese moral values.
-Physical training aimed at producing enduring and healthy Senegalese
-Training in entrepreneurship
-Detection of talent and their support in their
chosen field -Training in the field of Research and Development (R and D )
– Reinforced technical training in new technologies and new professions such as coding, software engineering, the use of drones, etc. –
Professional support in terms of business
creation – The creation of a national identity through discipline, tolerance, national solidarity, patriotism.
-Training in civil engineering and major works
– Training in an intervention during periods of natural disasters
-By drawing inspiration from the “Khelcom” Mouride model of mobilization, this service could also make it possible to mobilize the human resources necessary for a ‘National Khelcom’ in favor of agriculture and food self-sufficiency or a big clean-up day.
By fulfilling these tasks, the SMCS will thus be a place of strengthening and endowment of technical capacities compared to places of traditional and theoretical education such as the university.
Ultimately, this project aims to bring together young Senegalese from all socio-cultural backgrounds (student, rich, poor, non-students, farmer, Mouride, Tidiane, young people from the diaspora, etc. …), during a determined period for citizen and professional training based on patriotism. We can thus hope to a certain extent, obtain at the end of this training, young Senegalese endowed with patriotic, civic-mindedness, and modern and professional know-how to curb the challenges mentioned above.
Note: Through this modest exercise without any pretension, my dearest wish is to identify a line of thought aimed at creating a framework for reflection involving all the actors concerned.”
Demba Babaly NDIATH,
CEO The African Dream / Founder and CEO Dalakjamm.com
Senior Specialist in Court Orders and Direct Debit at JP Morgan Chase Bank USA International MBA student in Global Finance, Ashland University, USA
Master II Information and Communication Science, and
Master II Public International Law, University of Nice Sophia Antipolis France