Growing number of African youth want to move abroad - survey

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A rising number of African youth are making plans to migrate to developed countries, according to a survey of young people from 15 African countries.

The pandemic, climate crisis, political instability and violence have all contributed to making young people “jittery” about their futures since the Covid pandemic began, according to the African Youth Survey published on Monday.

32% of the 4,500 respondents, aged 18-24, are optimistic about Africa’s prospects, a drop of 11% since the last survey of its kind published in early 2020, according to a report by the guardian.

About 60% of Africa’s population is younger than 25, and more than a third is aged between 15–34 years old.

In almost all countries at least two-thirds of young people surveyed believed their nations were going in the wrong direction, apart from Rwanda and Ghana, where 60% and 56% were optimistic about their country’s direction.

Despite the fears for the future, the researchers found positivity among the interviewees about their own futures, with about 75% of them believing that their personal situation would improve.

While the previous survey found more than two-thirds of young people determined to stay, the current survey shows that 52% have plans of migrating abroad in the next three years, with the number increasing to three-quarters in Nigeria and Sudan.

Kholood Khair, founding director of a Sudanese think tank, Confluence Advisory, said previous optimism among the large youth demographic had failed to translate into opportunities because of ageing leaders and lack of access to finance.

Khair said optimism in Sudan after the overthrow of the dictator Omar al-Bashir in 2019, accompanied by young people launching new businesses and projects, had been crushed by last November’s military coup. This disillusionment had fed the desire to move abroad, she said.

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