In a recent conversation with Professor João Bosco, the President of the Brazil Africa Institute, we discussed the importance of young people in economic and social development. Although the majority of the populations are young people, they still have little representation in the circles of influence where decisions are really made. The scarcity of available spaces for developing young leaders in Africa and Brazil is clearly seen.
The absorption of young leaders will bring about a great number of benefits for the economy and society of both regions. According to the United Nations — UN — the population of the world has never been so young — 1.8 billion and that number corresponds to a greater percentage of the young population in developing countries. That scenario, named demographic bonus, is many times mentioned by specialists as a key moment for increasing productivity and wealth of a society, considering that the portion of active economic population exceeds the number of the inactive, thereby providing a surplus for the economy.
Asiatic countries like Singapore, South Korea, and Japan have experienced a period of elevated economic growth during their « demographic bonus ». Based on this context, Brazil and the African continent display great potential for exploiting economic development, if there is the capacity to invest in human capital in this age group, especially in employment and education.
Furthermore, it is important to think of young people as they are also agents for promoting changes. Since I arrived at the World Economic Forum two years ago, the institution has had a long history of building bridges among diverse communities in the public and private sectors, academic, international organisms, and social entities throughout all regions of the world, and thus I am fascinated by how to position the development of young leaders in the center of their objectives. Thereby, the Forum will be able to introduce new ideas and perspective on old problems, in such a way as to achieve an impact on the local, regional, and global level.
In 2017, I had the opportunity to meet young Latin American and African leaders in their respective regions during the course of the regional meetings organized by the South African and Argentinian Forum. The group is made up by businessmen, politicians, civil servants, social enterprisers, academics, scientists, and journalists, who spoke about the most diverse subjects.
“The scarcity of available spaces for developing young leaders in Africa and Brazil is clearly seen”
Some of the main concerns were on the following issues: (i) support on solving problems with their neighbors/communities focused on the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) from the UN, on a local level, in such a way as to contribute to the global level, (ii) promote a political renovation in their countries, centered on such values as transparency and citizen participation, and (iii) transform the challenges of new technologies from the Fourth Industrial Revolution into opportunities for their societies.
These young people in our two regions are quickly reaching notoriety in their ideas and solutions fundamentally because they believe they can increase the impact of their initiatives through partnerships, collaboration, and learning, beginning from interaction by professionals in distinct fields and regions.
African countries and Brazil share many of the same challenges and opportunities. I believe that by constructing more spaces and discussion forums, whereby young people can share their experiences and seek new partnerships for developing their ideas, these will achieve even more significant results.
In the upmost spirit of collaboration, I have united with all the other colleagues on the Atlântico Magazine Editorial Council for the noble task of building bridges between the countries on the African continent and Brazil, especially among the young leaders from these regions embedded with the wish to bring about impacts in their communities.