African youths have been urged to change the narrative of Africa from a false impression of a failing continent to that of a working and fast growing region as contained in Africa Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063 of inclusive growth and sustainable development for Africa. The Director General of Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies, (MINILS), Comrade Issa Aremu, made the appeal last weekend while addressing the virtual second Industriall Global union African region Youth Zoom Conference anchored from Johannesburg South Africa and monitored in Ilorin.
IndustriALL Global Union organizes 50 million workers in 140 countries in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors with affiliate unions in Africa including Nigeria.
In his remark at the opening session of the youth conference, comrade Aremu who is also the Vice President of the global union charged participants drawn from affiliate 60 industrial affiliates Unions in Africa charged the Youth Committee members to change the narrative of Africa “from despair to hope, from poverty to prosperity, income inequality to fair distribution of wealth to all , banditry and child/students kidnappings to sustainable security and peace.”.
He advised the youths to confront xenophobia, drug abuse and corruption which according to him “had underdeveloped Africa just as colonialism, imperialism and apartheid did”.
The Director General observed that Africa is the world’s youngest continent, with almost 60% of population under the age of 25, adding that “youth population is both an opportunity and a challenge for the continent”. He urged the youth committee of Industrial Global Union to lead the campaign for youth and women inclusion in trade unions and larger society.
Comrade Aremu observed that despite the challenges of Corona Virus pandemic which necessitates another rounds of lock downs in some countries, African youths must make the point that Africa is working not failing. According to him, Africa has made progress in democracy and democratization worthy of celebration. “South Africa has witnessed 6 democratic five- year cycle elections. Nigeria has also conducted 6 four year presidential elections. Ghana 8 elections. There is no doubt that Africa is becoming democracy destination.” He however added that just like other parts of the world, democracy is under attacks in Africa citing Mali, with two military coups in the last 9 months. He called on African youths to back the demand of ECOWAS that the military returns Mali to democracy which he says only guarantees freedom for trade unions to thrive. He urged the youths to “reaffirm support for democracy and demand that nobody takes to power without peoples’ mandate in Africa” . He called for African solidarity for the people of Myanmar who he said at enormous costs to lives have risen against the military junta that usurped power since February this year.
Comrade Aremu expressed the readiness of Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies, (MINILS) Ilorin to up-scale the capacity for African youths for the integration of young workers into trade unions in Africa.