In Tanzania, 64 percent of the population is under 24 and those aged (15-35) account for 34 percent of the entire population - thus, youths make up the vast majority of the population. This demographic numerical advantage derives the potential to influence the political direction and support democratic change in the country.
Even though youth are majority, they are not sufficiently represented in the decision-making bodies and procedures due to oftentimes unrepresentative, undemocratic and hierarchical structures. As a result, their influence to bring about social, economic and political change is marginalized.
Besides that, youth are often most profoundly affected by multiple challenges such as unemployment, lack of proper education, lack of representative participation mechanisms which all together hinder their capacity to become influential change agents in spite of their potential.
Youth and young socio-economic activists remain to be the foundation of any society, and harnessing their potential is of great importance for the country’s socio-economic and political development. This calls for a political education and discussion programme which focuses on promoting youth perspectives on pertinent political, economic and social matters.
THE YOUNG LEADERS FORUM
Since 2000, FES Tanzania has been running its Young Leaders Forum in which youth from different social and political backgrounds have been brought together for critical discourse and exchange in a non-partisan, objective and constructive manner. The YLF provides the platform for active young minds and political activists to learn about, discuss and critically interrogate issues of social justice and democracy in the country and in sub-Saharan Africa at large. It is a multi-disciplinary programme which focuses on various social, economic and political matters at the local, national, regional, continental and global level to nurture a political activism by the youth which is dynamic and transformational.
The main objectives of the programme are
A combination of knowledge inputs, group works, role plays, debating formats, case studies and practical visits. Besides that the trainees will also conduct some simple research and studies to augment their analytical and critical thinking which is imperative for transformational leadership.
Eligible candidates for joining the Young Leaders Forum must be youth aged between 21-35 years who are politically active and engaged in socio-economic matters. Their form of engagement can consist in active participation in youth bodies of political parties, trade unions, or youth associations, but they may equally as much show their activist approach in a different approach and sphere of society.
The YLF will accommodate not more that 35 participants at a time, with a strictly applied gender equality in participation - women will occupy at least 18 slots. Due to the specific historical and constitutional set-up of the United Republic of Tanzania, Zanzibar-based candidates will be adequately represented in the programme.
"China’s Role in Africa is highly controversial. Some see China as a neo-imperialist power, others as Africa’s economic saviour. Yet, the "Real Story of China in Africa" seems much more complex and contradictory. In November 2015 the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), Tanzania Office, gathered 46 Young Leaders from eight East African countries to discuss how African agency can be strengthened in the Sino-African relationship."