The definition of “National Security” is ever-changing, as its framework is based on the study of human evolution and behavior. There have been many factors serving as contributors to the threats to communities and population, including armed conflict, xenophobia, gang violence, drug abuse, rape, and criminal activities, which are fervently featured in the media.
However, there is another threat, somewhat mundane which seldom catches the public's attention. This danger which has eluded many governments for far too long is the threat of youth unemployment.
It’s estimated that over 200 million Africans are between the ages of 15 and 24; making Africa the youngest population in the world. According to the African Economic Outlook (2012), this figure is expected to double by 2045. The World Bank in its current report on jobs in Ghana has disclosed that about 48 percent of the youth in the country, who are between 15 - 24 years do not have jobs.
The report further questioned the country’s preparedness in dealing with the youth bulge in the coming decades. The threat of youth unemployment is the source of a series of social and, in extension, political problems countries can face. Unemployment is an indicator of several possible malfunctions and lawlessness as far as public policy or the very structure of a society and an economy are concerned.
The relatively high rates of criminal activities, and the consequent state failure which increases the risk to national security could be exceedingly attributed to the high youth unemployment. Alexander Chikwanda, Zambia's Minister of Finance, puts the issue more succinctly; "Youth unemployment is a ticking time bomb," which now appears to be perilously close to an explosion.
Opportunities in Agriculture: Young people to venture into agriculture food supply chain.
"African leaders and policy need to support all efforts geared towards engaging young people to venture into agriculture in order to address poverty and create meaningful jobs for youth,"
THE WAY FORWARD
"Investing in agriculture and making it attractive to young people has a big potential to solve joblessness among African youth," said Jose Graziano da Silva, director general of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). He noted that agriculture is a huge wealth-creating sector that remains largely untapped by African young entrepreneurs.
According to him, youth in Africa has the potential to revolutionize the food and agriculture sector and generate economic growth, which can boost employment and the economic transformation on the continent. According to Josefa Sacko, African Union Commissioner for rural economy and agriculture, Africa has the world's youngest and fastest growing population with less interest in agricultural initiatives which has resulted into massive youth unemployment on the continent.
"African leaders and policy need to support all efforts geared towards engaging young people to venture into agriculture in order to address poverty and create meaningful jobs for youth," she added.
Encouraging and supporting African young people to venture into agriculture and agri-business can potentially create wealth and address youth unemployment on the continent, agriculture experts have. Led by our distinguished Laureate agency, Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA) a Millennium Excellence Foundation Recipient, we propose a comprehensive program that will accommodate 120,000 young men and women as a pilot phase and soon to be rolled out to 1,000,000 of our youth.
As such, motivating the youth to view agriculture as a career opportunity will require a multi-level intervention. In the first instance, those within the school system must be targeted and in the second instance, those outsides of the school system must be lured and sensitized. How should this be done? Simple! Teach them by delivering age-appropriate information inside and outside of the formal school system.
The absence of agriculture from the curriculum, particularly at the compulsory levels of education, should be addressed. - By Gabriel Osei Junior