Africa: the youngest continent...But?

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In May, a meeting was held in Rome, organized by the Union of General Superiors (UGS) of all catholic religious congregations. The main topic was about Youth as a preparation to the coming Synod of bishops in October. Our General superior, Fr. Fernando Gracia, sx attended the meeting. Here are some useful data he retained[1] from the talk of Prof. Mesa on the topic:  “The Youth in the intercultural world of today”.


  1. 1. Young people in the world: demographic point of view

- According to the UN report, in 2015 the young people between 15 and 24 are 1.194.500.000. This category forms the16% of the world population which is estimated of about 7.383.000.000.

- 6 out of 10 of these youth are in Asia; 2 out of 10 in Africa, the youngest continent.

- Almost 1 youth out of 10 is in Latin America;

- The youth of North America, Oceania and Europe are less than 1 out of 10 of the total.

- In Europe the population over 24 is more than 73%. In Asia and Latin America, the population over 24 is above 50%,

 - In Africa only 4 habitants out of 10 are older than 24, 2 out of 10 are between 15 -24 years old and 4 out of 10 are less than 14 years old.

In these geographic areas the youth represent a great reservoir of energy and vitality that can become a destructive force if they are not properly oriented through processes of participation to social, economic and cultural life; concludes professor Mesa.

  1. 2. The “but” of the African continent
  • Africa is the youngest continent in the world.
  • The socio-economic conditions of the African Youth have improved in these last years, but not continually.
  • There has been an improvement in basic education.
  • It is still difficult to access to secondary and high education, jobs and medical facilities.
  • There is low participation in decision making on both national and local levels
  • There is a consistent presence of migrations both internal and international because of conflicts and lack of opportunities.

[1] The full text is published in Italian and can be found here: htts// The translation from Italian to English is done by Fr. Vicent Munari, sx.