Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has raised the alarm that Africa’s increasing population is assuming a worsening trend.
Obasanjo worried about how Nigeria and other African countries would be able to keep “this keg of gunpowder of the large army of unemployed youth from exploding.”
He queried how the unemployed youths could be stopped from enlisting in violent extremist groups and gangs of kidnappers.
Obasanjo stated these during the public presentation of the maiden edition of the Africa Progress Group (APG) report, on Tuesday.
Obasanjo, who is chairman of the APG, said if Africa’s growing population, which he said keeps him awake at night, is managed properly, it will yield huge dividends for national and regional development.
He said, “Three clusters of questions pop up in my mind any time the scary thoughts of the ever-increasing population kept me awake at night. The first cluster is: how are we going to feed this exploding population?
“Only a few days ago, the alarm was raised about imminent food crisis in Nigeria. Similar alarm bells have been ringing with increasing stridency all over Africa. How are we going to house them; educate them, provide them with health security and other variants of human security?
“The second cluster of questions is: how do we keep this keg of gunpowder of the large army of unemployed youth from exploding? How do we keep them from enlisting in violent extremist groups and gangs of kidnappers? The third cluster of questions is: how can Africa attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2063 in a turbulent sea of exploding, not-well-managed populations?
“While these clusters of questions are frightening, they would appear to have an elegantly simple solution — political will and action to make population an asset. This is the master key of a sort. I am sure you noticed that this ‘key’ has two elements — the will and the action.”