Women walking at Adjamé Market, abidjan, ivory coast

Africa and the Lottery of Birth

It often amazes me, how BIRTH can shape the future yet un-walked for us. To some, it becomes a stepping-stone and for many, it becomes a stumbling block. 

Africa and its share of the lottery of birth have always been on the losing side with the rise in youth unemployment, lack of access to quality education, increased population growth challenge, gender inequity, poverty and other negative social-economic outcomes.

While the past cannot be changed (the issues of our birth to the Africa continent}, we (Africans) cannot deny its significant effects on our journey to success in life. Each one of us is born into different circles of families and neighbourhoods, where we naturally inherit our genes, economic resources, and lifestyles in general. 

This event goes on to determine most of our life outcomes as birth can be a lottery of winning or losing depending on the circle of placement that birth presents to them. Statistics have further shown us, the strong linkage between young people born into disadvantaged homes to high and negative social crime rates, bringing society a huge social cost across the landscape of Africa.

To avail the African society of this personal and negative economic cost, we must choose to follow these propositions:

Targeting Disadvantaged Young People to promote Economic Efficiency at an Early Age:

The Inequality that we see in society today is a path that started from birth or pre-birth for many young people. Many young people are already positioned by birth to experience and suffer inequality of all kinds (Malnutrition, Poor Health, and others). In Africa, it is increasing the circle of Intergenerational Poverty transfer, as many young people are unemployed, poor and lack basic needs for living. 

Many of these young people lack the crucial childhood development programs needed for success as an adult. Hence, if society aids young people from disadvantaged homes at an early age will help reduce the share of society experiencing huge social costs in the future by decreasing the high crime rate, early pregnancy, and low-skilled workers, among others. 

Family Support Schemes: 

In order to help these young people, it is important to make a substantial effort in providing Early Family Support Schemes. It is crucial to invest in mother support programs and family planning. The African governments need to come up with an effective birth control policy to keep the increasing population and the available capacity of the African nations to provide support for young people from disadvantaged homes and communities in check. 

Moving toward a better educational system and a world of skill acquisition:

 There is currently a focus on increased “School enrollment” and not necessarily on a better educational system. Just to note, increased schooling does not necessarily promote or deliver quality education. Our schools for the less privileged ones are without basic amenities that can aid learning. Teachers lack the motivation for the job as the profession is one of the lowest paid in society. Keeping this in mind, it is important for stakeholders to think if we need to emphasize skill acquisition as the only breakthrough to help young people from disadvantaged homes in this contemporary society.

Feature Photo by Eva Blue on Unsplash


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Africa and the Lottery of Birth

by Ahmed Owolabi Olajuwo Reading time: 2 min