COVID-19 is affecting many young people in various ways including health, education and socio-economic impact. The reality of young people on the continent even before the pandemic is that African economies generate only 3 million formal jobs annually for an estimated 12 million youth entering the workforce every year. Besides, approximately 60% of jobs in Africa are considered vulnerable which means African youth are in the informal sector. Therefore, during these lockdowns and homestays, African youth who hustle and survive on insecure jobs will now be unemployed.
The spread of the pandemic in Africa is also likely to affect young people’s mental health which could lead to depression and anxiety. In addition, this situation could increase the rate of gender-based violence towards girls including child marriage and being locked down with their abusers.
Youth are central to fighting coronavirus. Young people are leading carriers of the virus and so bear the most responsibility to heed and thoroughly comply with the scientific advice of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and experts.
Young Africans should put their energy, dynamism and innovation in the fight to end the pandemic and many are already doing so. We see many youth working on the frontline; some are producing hand sanitisers, distributing them door to door, and raising awareness; others started crowdfunding platforms, distributing food packages, masks, and other gear to the most vulnerable in their communities. We also see youth artists creating informational songs and music videos as well as tech gurus developing apps and useful websites.
*The views of the above article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Africa Speaks 4 Africa or its editorial team.