On the occasion of the 2013 International Youth Day celebration, the African Regional Organization of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa) congratulates the vibrant and dynamic young men and women of Africa for their steadfastness in striving to make a difference in society in the face of the current global financial and economic crises.
12th August each year sees the commemoration of International Youth Day (IYD). This day was established by the United Nations in the year 2000 as a means of raising awareness of issues affecting young people around the world. The theme for this year’s celebration is ‘Youth Migration: Moving Development Forward.’
ITUC-Africa recognizes that the Youth constitute the most mobile social group in the context of migration as they form about 30% of international migrants. Yet very little is known about the struggles and opportunities that migration presents for young migrants.
As technology has developed and the world has become a smaller place, young people are travelling more in search of work, education, and health services. While these ambitious and talented young people travel abroad to seek better opportunities and living conditions, there is a huge downside that is regularly reported. Stories of Africans washed up on the shores of southern Europe, or drowned at sea in overcrowded boats are often told.
In Africa, rural-urban migration is one common occurrence. The lack of infrastructure, commodities and opportunities in rural areas has been largely identified as the reason why youth aspire to settle in cities. The agricultural sector is consequently affected through this surge.
ITUC-Africa acknowledges the need to raise awareness about the conditions of young migrants as well as the role of youth-led organizations in addressing migration issues. It is important that the youth play a role in developing migration policies and contribute to the effective implementation of these policies.
Measures have to be explored in striving to keep the youth at home in Africa since young people are no doubt a valuable resource for change. It is indeed worrisome that the continent which is most in need of its human resources loses this wealthy asset to the rest of the world through migration.
As we commemorate the day through diverse activities, ITUC-Africa encourages the youth to hold on steadfastly to their dreams and hopes while they continue to fight for a better Africa.
We wish all youth in Africa, a Happy International Youth Day celebration.
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