Global Citizen NOW Conference Drives Investments in Africa's Youth and Education

Global Citizen NOW conference in New York urges investment in sub-Saharan Africa, emphasizing education and youth development. The event features appearances by celebrities and leaders, aiming to raise awareness and support for anti-poverty causes.

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Quadri Adejumo
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Global Citizen NOW Conference Drives Investments in Africa's Youth and Education

Global Citizen NOW Conference Drives Investments in Africa's Youth and Education

The Global Citizen NOW conference, held in New York on May 2, 2024, brought together political, business, and philanthropic leaders to drive resources towards anti-poverty causes. The event highlighted the critical importance of long-term investments in Africa's rapidly growing youth population and education. Hugh Evans, CEO of Global Citizen, appealed for up to $6 billion for economic development in Africa and $600 million for a United Nations-administered fund supporting education during emergencies.

Why this matters: The future of Africa's economy and global stability depend on investing in the education and development of its rapidly growing youth population. Failure to do so could lead to increased poverty, instability, and migration, with far-reaching consequences for the entire world.

Evans emphasized the need for clear, practical actions that citizens can take to change the world for good, particularly in the face of growing polarization and feelings of hopelessness. "I don't need to lecture anyone about polarization," Evans stated. "But I do think that the corollary of that is that sometimes people can feel completely hopeless and disempowered. My one hope is that our platform continues to stand for clear, decisive, practical actions that citizens can take to change the world for good."

The conference featured appearances by celebrities such as Hugh Jackman, Michelle Yeoh, Anitta, and Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris. Their star power helped raise awareness and support for the causes championed by Global Citizen. Actress and advocate Danai Gurira highlighted the wealth of resources in Africa, stating, "We are ridiculously wealthy, from the cobalt to the lithium to the diamonds to the rubber to the oil... But often you don't see us in control of it."

Osi Umenyiora, a two-time Super Bowl champion and NFL representative, emphasized the untapped potential of African athletes. "The best athletes in the world, in my estimation, are in Africa," Umenyiora asserted. "It's just they haven't been developed. They haven't been trained." Global Citizen aims to address this by adding facilities in countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, and Morocco by 2030.

The conference also addressed the pressing need for increased foreign aid to sub-Saharan Africa, where the workforce is expected to double by 2050. Many countries in the region lack access to electricity, hindering economic growth and development. Former Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven stressed the importance of leveraging global potential, asking, "Why not use the whole potential of the world?"

Global Citizen announced plans to co-present an economic summit in Ivory Coast this fall, aiming to boost foreign aid to sub-Saharan Africa. The organization also launched efforts to engage Gen Z in its 12 million-member network, including pairing young leaders with officials like World Bank President Ajay Banga and developing a gaming division to raise awareness and funds for social causes through gaming platforms.

TheGlobal Citizen NOWconference served as a powerful call to action, urging global leaders to invest in Africa's youth and address pressing challenges through collective action and engagement. With 60% of Africa's population younger than 25 years old, the continent's future depends on providing opportunities for education, employment, and economic growth. The event emphasized the vital role of practical, decisive actions in creating a more equitable and sustainable future for all.

Key Takeaways

  • Global Citizen NOW conference urges $6 billion investment in Africa's economic development.
  • $600 million sought for UN fund supporting education in emergencies.
  • Africa's youth population growth requires investment in education and development.
  • Global Citizen aims to add sports facilities in Nigeria, Kenya, and Morocco by 2030.
  • Economic summit in Ivory Coast planned to boost foreign aid to sub-Saharan Africa.