Mbeki, who was addressing the Youth 21 global leadership forum in Nairobi, Kenya, said two thirds of the continent’s population was young and that in 2045 they would be the leaders responsible for the two billion projected continental population.
“To ensure that [the youth] actually exercises the leadership everybody rhetorically accepts and proclaims is its due, the youth must organise and ready itself to rebel, so to speak.”
“It would obviously be unnatural that I, a member of the older generation, would easily and willingly accept that younger people, my own children, should, at best, sit side-by-side with me as co-leaders, fully empowered to help determine the future of our people,” he said.
He said the new generation should define its unique and historic contribution to their societies’ development, otherwise it ran the risk of betraying its mission which would condemn the continent to “the outdated views and prejudices of the older generations”.
He said the continent’s future depended on achieving the objectives in the African Youth Charter of “peace and security, democracy and good governance, economic growth and development and gender equality” to which all African Union member states were bound to.
For the youth to take up their leadership role, it was imperative that Youth 21 global forum establish how the older generation should enable them to “discharge their obligation to exercise leadership” and “organise itself to play this role…in the struggle for the realisation of its goals”, said Mbeki.
The average age of African leaders is 77.
Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe (88 years), Abdulai Wade of Senegal (85), Paul Biya of Cameroon (79), Bingu Wa Mtalika of Malawi (76), Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia (76), Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia (75), Algeria’s Abdelaziz Bouteflika (76), Michael Sata of Zambia (75), Jose Eduardo Dos Santos of Angola (70), and Jacob Zuma of South Africa (71).
But in Europe which is developed, leader are, on average 20 years than the dinosaurs who are clinging on to power in Africa.
Angela Merkel ( Germany ) age 58, Nicolas Sarkozy ( France ) age 57, Jose Socrates ( Portugal ) age 55, Jens Stoltenberg (Norway), 52, Stephen Harper ( Canada ) age 51, Julia Gillard ( Australia ) age 50, Luis Zapatero ( Spain ) age 51, Barrack Obama ( USA ) age 50, David Cameron ( UK ) age 45.