Situating the Place of Youths' between African Union and Africa Diaspora

Situating the Place of Youths' between African Union and Africa Diaspora

Babatunde Joshua Omotosho (Federal University Oye-Ekiti, Department of Sociology, Ekiti State, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/IJSESD.2017040104
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One of the developments in the African Union (AU) is the recognition and reconnection of Africans in the Diasporas through policy formulations and other affirmative programmes. The aim is to ensure that Africans wherever they are located can reconnect with their roots and have a true sense of identity as Africans. This is a laudable achievement on the part of AU and the entire Africans in the Diaspora. While programmes and activities aimed at bridging this gap are being fashioned out by both parties, one of the major issues that must not be ignored is the inclusion of youth in these activities. Consequently, the questions are: what is the place of youth in AU- Diaspora relations? What are the structures put in place whether at the institutional or at the Diaspora levels in ensuring that youth have a voice in the ongoing bonding process between the two parties? Providing answer to these questions in this article become pertinent at this early stage in order to carry the young ones, the future of tomorrow along in the scheme of things regarding AU and Africans in the Diaspora.
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A very apt and decisive way of beginning this discourse would be a quotation of David Mwambari (2011) on his article regarding African youth in the Diasporas. Some of his arguments are captured below:

Tell me youth of Africa in the Diaspora, when will we save the money we spend on expensive shoes or make up and use it to support the girl who misses school in Mangochi town? When will the hypocrisy of fighting AIDS transition to the use of a condom in your ever-changing relationships with strange women or men? When will we use our hard-earned income or vacation time to learn, to help a struggling uncle or aunt to understand accounting and book keeping for their businesses in Bujumbura? When will we spare a minute to train a nurse in Harare via a phone conference and mentor them for a year? When will we navigate our mentality that change is overnight and televised?

The caption above captures the passion of a youth challenging fellow youth on the need to be more involved in African development. Over the years, deliberations of this nature have sprung up across different spaces outside the continent emphasising on the need for youth to be alive and come with methods of intervention as Africans in the Diaspora. From these myriads of activities, some of the interesting issues coming to fore are: a. the interest of these youngsters to be identified as a group who share a relationship and a commitment to the ethos and values of African systems and traditions, b. in the process, they are doing everything within their ability to seek recognition and also mobilise fellow youth in order to contribute (irrespective of where they are) to the development of their fatherland; c. while a number of youth groups exist, there might be other youth without any affiliation to such established youth groups in the Diaspora and yet willing to connect with Africa as African youth in the Diaspora. Going by this, the questions that come to mind are: what roles is the continent playing in ensuring that these groups of youngsters spread over different parts of the continent voluntarily or otherwise play their parts towards the development of the nation? What are the strategies put in place to identify and connect youth with or without group affiliations to the continent? This and others constitute the premise for this discourse. Based on this, this discussion has set for itself the task of examining the concept of Diasporas with reference to African Union. In undertaking this, some of the success stories shall be examined; also, youth in the Diasporas vis-à-vis the kind of activities they are involved in shall be looked at as well. In addition, the paper shall scrutinize the activities of the African Union as it relates to the youth in the Diasporas. Finally, the paper shall make some recommendations regarding how AU can ensure that these young ones are recognised as individuals and as groups and also ensure that they are made to play their expected roles in taking the continent to the next level.

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