Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

The role of young people in the fight against corruption in Africa

The population of the African continent is getting young and younger and young people are almost always in the forefront of innovation, the technological space and coming up with solutions to problems that plague the continent. In fact, analysts project that by 2050, half of the population of the continent will be young people. But their fight is not being felt in an attempt to destroy the cancer that is corruption, so the question becomes how can young people in their majority stop this systematic looting of the same resources that are meant to benefit not only them, but the rest of the population.

The damaged caused by corruption

Corruption does not only happen in government departments or in the public sector, during tender systems for contracts but also in the private sector and it is incumbent upon young people in both sectors in Africa to fight corruption in all corners of the society.

Corruption steals from the poor, it delivers substandard work that ultimately puts the lives of people at risk. It robs communities of progress and could be cited as one of the reasons for the slow pace of infrastructural development in the continent. The dangers far outweighs any perceived “good” that may be a result of corruption and often it is the lay people who would have to endure the consequences, majority of whom are women, black and young.



One of the worst outcomes resulting directly from corruption, and this is seen in many parts of the continent, is that because the economy barely grows, the result is that young people are faced with a huge burden of unemployment and a lack of opportunities to better their lives, hence a clarion call needs to be made to the youth of the continent to adopt a change in mindset and how they view corruption. But what needs to be done?

Young people and the spaces of influence

There first needs to be a monumental shift in the way that young people see corruption. It should be labeled as the cancer that it is and the damage that it does to societies should be clearly spelled out. Therefore, young people in the continent should begin by having this conversation in their spaces of influence and more often it is through social media that young people are able to connect easily and challenge the status quo.

But social media is but one avenue to vent about this issue and more often it becomes merely a conversation that rarely translate into action. The argument though can be made that social media has a huge potential to fuel change, take the Arab Spring for instance. The conversation should also be in spaces where young people populate including but not limited to class rooms and lecture halls, youth summits, camps, meetings of youth structures and other important spaces to ensure that it does not only become an academic exercise to speak about corruption but that new innovative ideas are brought up in order to win the fight against corruption.

There are a number of ways in which young people can be actively involved in dismantling the culture of corruption that has already been cultivated not only in the continent, but worldwide.

Young people can start or become part of the existing civil rights movements to keep those in power in check and on their toes so as to minimize wrong doing that almost results in corruption. Active Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are also key drivers in ensuring that we stamp out corruption in Africa.

Young people should also elect leaders with no questions on their integrity, morals and judgments. They should also infiltrate political parties, alternative movements and structures so as to change the existing perception about corruption and its intended “benefits”.

 What is the role of young people in fighting corruption?

Young people have a massive task of changing the culture of corruption in African states and cultivating a new culture of ethical leadership that when put under the microscope, they are not found wanting.

The role of young people is also to fight for the access to free, decolonized education in all levels of study and equip themselves with the necessary resources so as to not fall prey to corruption. Qualified young people will be able to content influential positions both in and outside government on merit and will slowly make an impact in changing the culture of corruption both in corporate and the public sector.

There should also be a concerted effort from young people themselves to ensure that the necessary law enforcement state entities function optimally so that they are able to bring perpetrators before the law and are given the necessary punishment. This can only be done if qualified, competent and incorruptible people are appointed to head these institutions are appointed. Thus it is the role of young people to make sure that these democratic structures are not infiltrated by rouge elements that will steal resources of the poor.

Article from AFRIC editorial.

Credit image/google images/Corruption.

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