Africa’s young people express views on Covid-19

New report analyses youth perspectives on the challenges of COVID-19

Young and mid-level career citizens are cautiously optimistic about the future.

A new report from The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has analysed youth perspectives on the challenges Africa’s young people are facing as a result of Covid-19

Titled “Covid-19 in Africa: what does it mean for young people?”, the 50-page document sheds light on the views of 143 young and mid-level career African citizens from various sectors and disciplines.

Billed as the Foundation’s first-ever Now Generation Network Survey findings on the impact of Covid-19, the report focuses on issues of government responses to the crisis, access to adequate healthcare, the availability of reliable information and the continent’s prospects for the future.

Here are 5 key findings of the survey:

  1. When asked about the biggest challenges currently facing their country, more than 3/4 of respondents (79%) cited economic instability. Unemployment is the second biggest challenge for 2/3 (66%).
  2. On their concern about the impact of Covid-19 on their country, the respondents almost unanimously cited unemployment, food insecurity/rising food costs, and increased gender-based violence and crime (95%) as the three main economic and social impacts.
  3. Less than half of respondents (48%) feel that the Covid-19 pandemic is the biggest health challenge in their country, while the rest (47%) did not. When asked about the three health risks they would rank first, it was concerning to see that along with Covid-19 and the general inadequacy of health systems, they listed mental health/stress and anxiety.
  4. In view of the Covid-19 crisis, 58% of respondents consider healthcare access and provision in their country as mostly (or even completely inadequate. They consider the following as the three main inadequacies:
  • Lack of/inadequate health infrastructure
  • Insufficient/inadequate medical supplies such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Lack of qualified healthcare workers
  1. The majority of respondents agreed that the impact of Covid-19 was threatening their human rights and civil liberties, and called for strengthened gender, economic and social policies.

All in all, Africa’s young and mid-level career citizens remain cautiously optimistic about the future, with a majority considering the current crisis as an opportunity to alter the current growth model.

Some 84% of those surveyed believe the Covid-19 provides an opportunity to reform current policies.

“It is encouraging to see this cautious optimism from our young people – who account for almost 60% of Africa’s population,” said Foundation chairperson, Mo Ibrahim.

He called for decision-making to include our continent’s greatest asset – its young people – now more than ever.

The Foundation says from the results of its survey, it is confident that Africa will overcome the challenges presented by coronavirus pandemic.

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