Looking ahead, youth movements are proving effective in promoting democratic change, but what support will they need as they seek to foster economic change? Are there conceptual challenges? African democracies have been called “choice-less democracies” (Mkandawire) in that they rarely lead to framing economic and social policies that break with the neoliberal paradigm. Yet major structural transformation will surely be required to reduce poverty and social and economic inequalities.
Other questions remain. How will youth movements influence and be influenced by those engaged in environmental struggles at the global level and by other social movements of youth and women? How will the youth movements negotiate new bases of citizenship and belonging?
Cynical politicians in many parts of the world use the myth of “the dangerous other” to sow fear and drum up support. The youth movements described here, however, demonstrate a different and powerful reality: that positive change is possible in unity. Given the fact that young people form the vast majority of Africa’s population, prospects are good, and philanthropy can play a key role in supporting this positive transformation.
This conviction is behind TrustAfrica’s decision to make movement building a specific focus of our work. More on this can be found in the pages of this annual report – together with highlights from across our programs, from advancing economic and agricultural policies that benefit poor producers, to improving higher education on the continent and much more. In the coming months and years, we look forward to working side by side with our partners as we advance our vision of transformative change for Africa and Africans.