Youth in Africa face several struggles when it comes to engaging in politics. Here are some key reasons why youths are struggling in African politics:
1. Limited representation and voice: Young people often lack adequate representation and opportunities to voice their concerns and ideas within political systems. Traditional power structures and established political elites may marginalize youth perspectives, making it difficult for young people to have a meaningful impact on decision-making processes.
2. Lack of access to political resources: Many youths in Africa face barriers to accessing the necessary resources for effective political engagement. Limited financial resources, lack of networks and connections, and limited access to information and education about political processes and institutions can hinder their participation.
3. Discrimination and age barriers: Age restrictions and discriminatory practices in political systems can prevent young people from running for office or holding key positions. Some countries have minimum age requirements for political candidacy that exclude many young individuals from participating actively in politics.
4. Socioeconomic challenges: High levels of poverty, unemployment, and limited access to quality education and healthcare can divert the attention of young people away from political engagement. The struggle for basic needs and livelihoods can overshadow their ability to participate effectively in political processes.
5. Lack of mentorship and guidance: Young people often lack mentorship and guidance from experienced political leaders. The absence of role models and opportunities for intergenerational dialogue can hinder the development of young leaders and their ability to navigate the complexities of the political landscape.
6. Political violence and instability: Some African countries have experienced political violence, conflicts, and instability, which can create an atmosphere of fear and discourage young people from engaging in politics. The risks associated with political involvement, including threats, intimidation, and violence, can deter youth from actively participating.
7. Limited youth-focused policies and programs: In some cases, governments and political institutions may not prioritize youth-specific policies and programs. The lack of targeted initiatives to address the unique challenges and aspirations of young people can hinder their political engagement and limit their ability to influence policy decisions.
Addressing these struggles requires concerted efforts from governments, political parties, civil society organizations, and the international community. Creating inclusive political environments, ensuring youth representation, promoting mentorship and capacity-building programs, and implementing youth-friendly policies are essential steps toward fostering greater youth participation in African politics. Additionally, empowering young people economically, socially, and politically can contribute to their active engagement and meaningful contribution to political processes in the continent.