We need an efficient accountability mechanism at the continental and national levels for spending on social sectors like education. We need to use continental and global frameworks to push our member states to deliver.
Mismatch between policy and implementation
We have a gap between policy and implementation in the majority of our sectors across Africa. Africa has a lot of progressive policies at continental, regional, and national levels but implementation has always been a weakness. The role of government is to convert those great policies into impactful and concrete action.
When it comes to budgeting, we hear from youth that they want more funding for education and less for militarization. They want sustained government attention and leadership for education.
Young people want to know why we put our money into other things instead of investing into what will really build a future for our generation and the future of Africa’s economies – which is education.
I am a product of public education. I attended public school in Tunisia from primary through my undergraduate degree. If I wasn’t a product of that system then I wouldn’t be the Youth Envoy today.
We shouldn’t underestimate our public education systems in Africa, but rather strengthen them and build their capacities to become the engines of growth and development, as they are in other regions of the world.
How violence and conflict affect young people
Violent conflict has a huge impact on young people: It disrupts their education. When they are displaced, often their qualifications are unrecognized in a host country.
Because of conflict and displacement, young people have the security of their education taken away.
Children are also negatively affected because they can’t even complete their basic education before they’re thrown into a context of violence, which quickly becomes all they know.
But I have seen many of these former child soldiers or the children profoundly affected by violence become peace builders and it’s very inspiring. It shows the resilience of young people.
Education, particularly girls, can foster peace and stability
Education is one of the most powerful instruments for peace. That’s why I always talk about Youth, Peace and Development instead of Youth, Peace and Security.
If development is front and center of the security agenda at the AU and UN security councils, then maybe more countries will increase financing for education.
I’m hoping we can refocus the conversation on empowerment, which comes through education and employment, particularly for girls.
When we focus on development instead of security and put the needed funding and infrastructures in place, then we can invest in employment, education, engagement and entrepreneurship - the key pillars of empowerment that young people are asking for.