Human rights activist and Member of Parliament for Medina Constituency, Francis-Xavier Sosu, has called on Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to create some 252,000,000 jobs by 2035 within the ECOWAS region.
The request comes on the back of instabilities recorded in the African sub-regions caused by some Islamic militant groups.
According to the MP, the instabilities I.e persecution, conflicts, violence among others experienced within the continent could be quelled if the African leadership would create jobs for the youth to serve as a disincentive against terrorism.
Following the Jihadist attack last Wednesday in northern Burkina Faso which have resulted in the death of at least 80 persons, there is a daily sense of growing insecurity in the sub-region. The latest attack in the Sahel Region of Burkina Faso has been linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group operating along the borders with Niger and Mali. This attack gives an impression that the activities of the actors in terrorism have an interrelated position which makes their operation interconnected and no guaranteed peace for any country.
The attacks in Burkina Faso have led to the death of at least 132 civilians and resulted in the forced displacement of nearly 800 people of thousands which adds up to the world displacement of millions of civilians since 2018. As a result, there is an unfavourable comparison of 1% of the world’s population – or 1 in 95 people – forcibly displaced civilians at the end of December 2020 to 1 in 159 in 2010. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), global forced displacement at the end of 2019 was estimated at 79.5 million, with the number increasing to 82.4 million by the close of 2020, as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations or events seriously disturbing public order. These estimations leave a growing concern from the citizens about the measures the sub-regional leaders (duty bearers) are putting in place to ensure the safety of the vulnerable region.
The displacement of people as a result of escalated Boko haram attacks in Nigeria and parts of Cameroon, coupled with renewed fighting in the Central Africa Republic, violent conflicts in DR Congo, famine and food insecurity in South Sudan, clashes and insurgencies in Somalia and Northern Chad, as well as Africa’s related twin challenges of youth unemployment and economic hardship, make Africa a breeding ground of terrorist activities, and thereby, at risk of terrorist attacks.
According to the African Development Bank (ADB) report on Jobs for Youth in Africa: Catalyzing Youth Opportunities across Africa, 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. As a result, 263 million young people will lack an economic stake in the system by 2025. There is therefore the need for African leaders and ECOWAS Leaders, in particular, to be creative and up and doing, as 90% of Africa’s youth live in low and lower-middle-income countries, with the biggest challenge being the lack of formal jobs.
This worrying report reinforces the need for regional and sub-regional leaders to be on high alert, and ensure there is peace and economic transformation, mainly, access to economic opportunities as urgently as possible, as this is key to ensuring that the objectives as set out in Agenda 2063 are attained.
President Akufo Addo as Chairperson of ECOWAS must leave a legacy by being transformational and lead efforts to create 18 million jobs each year until 2035, to accommodate young labour market entrants, as this in addition to investing in modern technology with refined human resources who value peace to track the activities of terrorist groups and networks will go a long way to keeping their activities at bay. The time to act is now.