PRESS RELEASE – On the 15th of July 2020, the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), the Eastern Nile Technical Regional Office (ENTRO) and the Cooperation in International Waters in Africa (CIWA) programme will join the global celebrations to mark World Youth Skills Day (WYSD).
The aim of World Youth Skills Day is to recognise the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship, and to highlight the crucial role of skilled youth in addressing current and future global challenges. According to the United Nations statistics, as at 2015, there were 1.2 billion youth aged 15-24 globally. This accounts to one out of every six people worldwide. The report further predicts that the youth will increase to one out of every four people by 2030.
Out of the 1.2 billion youth documented in 2015, 226 million of them live in Africa. This represents approximately 20% of Africa’s population who make up one fifth of the world’s youth population. If you include all people aged below 35 years, then this number increases to an astounding three quarters of Africa’s population. This means that Africa has the largest concentration of young people in the world. This figure is estimated to increase to 42% by 2030 and is anticipated to continue to grow throughout the remainder of the 21st century, more than doubling from current levels by 2055.
From these figures, it is evident that Africa has the largest concentration of young people in the world who, with the right exposure, can be catalysts in solving critical issues grappling the continent such as water. This exposure can address twofold issues grappling the continent – lack of opportunities for young professionals to start their professional careers and the failure of the water sector to attract young, talented and motivated professionals (especially young women).
The water sector in Africa faces complex issues when we look at access and cooperation on transboundary water issues. Solving these will require specific skills and specialised programmes targeting the youth as they are future decision-makers.
The Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), the Eastern Nile Technical Regional Office (ENTRO) and the Cooperation in International Waters in Africa (CIWA) programme believes that it is essential to provide the right skills and opportunity to young people, which will help them to influence and impact communities, and countries propelling Africa to a prosperous future.
Creating a Brigade of Young Water Specialists
The Eastern Nile Technical Regional Office (ENTRO) programme is launching a cadre of water professionals and future leaders who are acquiring new skills, developing new regional collaborations, and contributing to multi-sectoral perspectives. The programme goes beyond the academic insights that traditional universities impart. It provides the necessary on-the-job practical training for young people to gain an in-depth understanding of water issues and decide their future career path in the sector.
By creating a conducive environment, ENTRO provides a collaborative platform to young water resources professionals, academics and practitioners. The interactions are helping in solving shared problems of the Nile Basin and building cooperative partnerships. Young people now have a chance to utilise their skills, start their career and develop a wholesome perspective of sustainable development.
“I acquired a lot of skills related to hydrological and hydraulic modelling. After the completion of this programme, I started working as a water resources engineer and proposing solutions for flood risk management. Young people of today are future decision-makers. To have the values of ENTRO and Nile Basin will help not take a unilateral decision, but we have to consider the benefit of other countries in this basin as well.” States Ahmed Nasr, Alumni of 2017, who hails from Egypt. He is a Hydrologist Engineer.
To date, 180+ interns have completed the programme. They have assisted in the transfer and sharing of knowledge on water resources models, interactive analytical toolkits, optimisation tools, remote sensing applications, flood forecasting and early warning activities, among others.
“ENTRO runs a major capacity building programme for young professionals. It improved my intellectual abilities, my social skills and broadened my network. It pretty much paved the way for me to start planning what I’ll be looking for towards my future PhD studies. Modern problems require modern solutions, and it’s a value-added by targeting the younger demographic.” States Ethiopia Basra, an Alumni of 2018, from Ethiopia. She is an Environmental Engineer.
As we join the world to mark the World Youth Skills Day, the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), the Eastern Nile Technical Regional Office (ENTRO) and the Cooperation in International Waters in Africa (CIWA) programme are celebrating all the young people in Africa and beyond who are using their skills to solve the development problems faced by the world today.