Youth ideas carry less weight in Namibia - report

Wisdom of elders prioritised
Only a minority of Africans say their governments are doing a good job of meeting the needs of the youth (28%), creating jobs (21%), and addressing educational needs (46%).
Ellanie Smit
A majority of Africans, even youth, consider the ideas of young people secondary to the wisdom of elders.

A new Afrobarometer survey has indicated that almost six in 10 Africans think it is more important to listen to the knowledge of elders than to the fresh ideas of the youth.

Only 38% prioritise listening to the ideas of young people.

“The need to pay more attention to the youth is a minority view across key socio-demographic groups, even among the youth themselves.”

In Namibia, 46% of citizens believe the country should pay more attention to the ideas of young people, with a greater percentage who still feel that – in order for the country to do well – we should listen to the wisdom of elders.

Youth prioritised

Among the 34 countries surveyed between late 2019 and 2021, Tunisia (71%), Morocco (67%), South Africa (56%), Lesotho (56%), Botswana (53%), and Cameroon (51%) are the only countries where a majority of respondents prioritise ideas from the youth.

Respondents with post-secondary education (52%) and men (40%) are more likely to emphasise listening to youth than citizens without formal education (41%) and women (36%).

Although the survey shows that Africans are grappling with youth unemployment and do not think their governments are doing enough to address the needs of young people, Afrobarometer said African youth tend to participate less in most forms of civic action and political engagement.

Young Africans, on average, are more educated than their elders. A majority (62%) of 18- to 35-year-olds have at least some secondary school, compared to 46% and 31%, respectively, of the middle and senior age brackets.

However, African youth are also considerably more likely to be out of work and looking for a job than their elders (34% of youth versus 22% of 36- to 55-year-olds and 12% of those above age 55).

No vote

According to Afrobarometer, only a minority of Africans say their governments are doing a good job of meeting the needs of the youth (28%), creating jobs (21%), and addressing educational needs (46%).

The youth are less likely than older citizens to have voted in the last national election (63% among the youth versus 83% among those over age 55), attended a community meeting (55% versus 67%), gotten together with others to raise an issue (51% versus 60%) and contacted leaders during the previous 12 months.