Young people must be center of U.S. Africa policy

Global Public Square

By Zeenat Rahman, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Zeenat Rahman serves as Special Adviser to the U.S Secretary of State for Global Youth Issues. You can follow her @zeenat. The views expressed are her own.

President Barack Obama’s just-concluded trip to Africa was focused on some of the issues you might expect from any presidential trip overseas: strengthening democracy, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security. But with Africa’s emergence as a growing economic power, the president employed a strategy on his visits to Senegal, Tanzania, and South Africa that also seemed to recognize something that sets Africa policy apart – the need to engage with young leaders.

It is essential that we connect with – and invest in – the next generation of African leaders, and here’s why: on a continent of 1 billion people, more than 60 percent are under the age of 35. By 2050…

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