Promise Or Peril — Africa’s 830 Million Youth By 2050
The population of Africa could almost double to 2.3 billion people by 2050 with a huge portion of that population being prime working age. The UN Resident Coordinator to Kenya, Siddharth Chatterjee, sees this as an opportunity Africa can harness to accelerate economic growth and lift hundreds of millions of people now living in extreme poverty out of it.
Sid, a passionate advocate for both women and the people of Africa, sees the opportunity to employ this population in productive work as a key to a prosperous future.
Interview with Siddharth Chatterjee, the United Nations Resident Coordinator to Kenya. of United Nations Kenya.
The following is the pre-interview with Siddharth Chatterjee. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.
We’ll be discussing Promise or Peril-Africa’s 830 million youth by 2050 with Siddharth Chatterjee.
How are you personally affected by Africa’s 830 million youth by 2050?
Africa’s population is expected to reach around 2.3 billion by 2050. The accompanying increase in its working-age population creates a window of opportunity, which if properly harnessed, can translate into higher growth and yield a demographic dividend.
In the wake of the Second World War, the Marshall Plan helped to rebuild shattered European economies in the interests of growth and stability. We need a plan of similar ambition that places youth employment in Africa at the center of development.
What is your take on Africa’s 830 million youth by 2050?
Whether the future of Africa is promising or perilous will depend on how the continent and the international community move from stated intent to urgent action and must give special priority to those SDGs that will give the continent a competitive edge through its youth.
The core SDGs of ending poverty, ensuring healthy lives and ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education all have particular resonance with the challenge of empowering youth and making them effective economic citizens.
My take is best described in this OPED I coauthored with the US Ambassador to Kenya, Kyle McCarter: “Youth and the Spectre of Violent Extremism.”
More about United Nations Kenya:
In collaboration with the Government of Kenya, the UN delivers on the country’s national priorities, the Sustainable Development Goal, Kenya’s Vision 2030 and the Big 4 development agenda, in accordance with a five-year strategy known as the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF). The implementation of UNDAF is overseen by the UN Country Team, which puts in place the structures that will best deliver on the projected outcomes. The current UNDAF (2018-2022) has three Strategic Results Areas, and each Area is handled by an inter-agency team. From 1st January 2019, the UN Reform of the development system kicked in, aiming at transforming the Resident Coordinator (RC) system and country teams to operate with greater emphasis on a stronger, better-defined collective identity as a trusted, reliable, cohesive, accountable and effective partner to countries in the 2030 Agenda; one that Member States invest in, and rely on, because they understand and support what it does, what it can deliver on, and how it functions.
The reforms will yield a UN development system that is more integrated, more focused on delivery on the ground, with clearer internal and external accountability for contributions to national needs, and with capacities, skillsets and resources better aligned to the 2030 Agenda.
The RC leads and coordinates the United Nations’ efforts to support the Government in creating and sustaining an enabling environment for the promotion of human rights, good governance and the improvement of the quality of life and the well-being of the people of Kenya by reducing poverty, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable groups and regions.
Siddharth Chatterjee. Photo Credit: UNFPA Kenya
Siddharth Chatterjee’s bio:
Siddharth Chatterjee is a humanitarian and development professional and is a feminist. He is the United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator to Kenya. He leads the UN Country Team to deliver on the UN Development Assistance Framework in Kenya, inspired by the UN Secretary General’s clarion call to action, “leave no one behind, and reach the furthest behind first.”
Until this appointment, Sid has been serving as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative to Kenya. At UNFPA, Sid and his team spearheaded efforts to reduce the unacceptably high maternal deaths in Kenya putting the spotlight on the challenges faced by adolescent girls, including child marriage, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and sexual and gender based violence.
Before he joined UNFPA in 2014, he served as the Chief Diplomat and Head of Strategic Partnerships and Resource Mobilization at the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) since 2011.
Previously he has served in the UN since January 1997.
Most of his career has been spent working in fragile states and complex emergencies. From 2009 to 2010, he was Regional Director for the Middle East, Europe and Central Asian Republics at the United Nations Office of Project Services.
He was Chief of Staff to the Special Representative of the Secretary General for the UN Mission in Iraq. He has also served in leadership positions in UNICEF offices in Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan (Darfur), Indonesia and with the UN PeaceKeeping Operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iraqi Kurdistan.
A TEDx speaker, Sid writes extensively on humanitarian and development issues in a variety of journals such as the Hill, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, Al Jazeera, Forbes, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Reuters, The Global Observatory and mainstream Kenyan and Indian journals.
He was profiled by Forbes magazine in an article titled, “Passionate Leader of UNFPA Kenya Battles Violence against Women, FGM and Child Marriage.”
His early career was in a Special Forces Unit of the Indian Army, where he was decorated in 1995 for bravery by the President of India.
He holds a Masters degree in Public Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, USA and a Bachelor of Sciences from the National Defense Academy in India.
Sid is married and they have a son.
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