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Bloom of youth (Excerpted from China Daily Europe)

  President Xi Jinping has emphasized the importance of Africa's young people to Sino-African ties

  Africa's young people hold the key to the continent's future and, with the support of governments, should play a more active role in shaping the continent's ties with China, experts and officials say.

  Adhere Cavince, an expert on China-Africa relations at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology near Nairobi, says young people embody the future of China-Africa relations.

  "It is through tapping the energy, creativity and talent of the young people that meaningful and sustainable economic development can be realized in Africa," he says.

  Cavince says China's great surge in economic growth was to a large extent aided by targeted investments in young people, equipping them with skills, competence and proper attitudes.

  "That is how the Asian economic giant became the global center of manufacturing," he says.

  Adam Lane, the senior director for public affairs at Huawei Southern Africa, says young people represent the present as well as the future of Africa. Since they constitute the continent's largest demographic, it's crucial that they have the skills, knowledge, passion and resources to develop themselves, their countries and the continent itself, he says.

  "For Sino-African relations, it is important that the youth are able to broaden their understanding of each other, learn from each other, and collaborate with each other for trade, cultural understanding, economic development and social development," Lane says.

  Cavince says that as China and other countries turn to Africa for economic partnerships, the continent should empower young people with skills that are commensurate with the demands of a knowledge-based economy.

  President Xi Jinping has emphasized the importance of Africa's young people to Sino-African ties. In his speech during the opening ceremony of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation's Beijing Summit on Sept 3, he said young people are the key to the future of China-Africa ties.

  He said the measures contained in the eight initiatives that China launched for building a closer China-Africa community with a shared future were designed to help young people in Africa.

  "These measures will provide young Africans with more training and job opportunities and open up more space for their development," he said.

Kenya's Vice-President William Ruto (3rd from right), together with other invited guests, takes a photo with the winners of AVIC International's Africa Tech Challenge. Liu Hongjie / China Daily

  According to African Development Bank Group, young people are Africa's greatest asset. The continent's youth population is rapidly growing and expected to double to over 830 million by 2050, ADB said. If properly harnessed, this increase in the working-age population could support increased productivity and stronger, more inclusive economic growth across the continent, it said.

  However, the majority of young people in Africa do not have stable economic opportunities. Of Africa's nearly 420 million people between the ages of 15 and 35, one-third are unemployed and discouraged and another one-third are vulnerably employed, according to an ADB report titled Catalyzing Youth Opportunity Across Africa.

  Young people face roughly double the unemployment rate of adults, with significant variation by country. The problem is not just unemployment but underemployment, which peaks at just over half of young people in the labor force in low-income countries.

  Chinese enterprises, meanwhile, are helping to solve unemployment through increasing investment in the continent. According to international consultancy McKinsey & Co, Chinese enterprises have provided more than 300,000 jobs to African workers.

  In addition, nearly two-thirds of Chinese employers provide some type of skills training. Among companies engaged in construction and manufacturing, where skilled labor is necessary, half offer apprenticeship training, McKinsey said.

  For better socioeconomic integration, Cavince, the scholar in Kenya, says there is a need to promote cultural understanding among young Africans and Chinese.

  "Given their amenability and openness to new ideas, creating frameworks for dialogue among young people is an important consideration that should be emphasized," he says.

  Young Africans can increase their competitiveness by tapping into the revolutionary technologies that China is pioneering in diverse fields, Cavince says.

Kenyan student studying in China under the SAJOREC-CAS scholarship

  He says initiatives like the Sino-Africa Joint Research Centre at Kenya's Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology will significantly increase the integration of China and Africa through a fusion of skills and cultures.

  The research center has organized workshops to share ideas on how to improve livelihoods through science and technology. This has in turn given rise to other collaborative projects in various fields of science, such as horticulture and biotechnology research activities.

  One such development was a SAJOREC seminar at the Wuhan Botanical Garden of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in October 2013. The workshop brought together participants from Kenya and other African countries, as well as Chinese officials and scientists.

  Previous training sessions have benefited university lecturers and laboratory technicians drawn from leading universities in Africa, who have been trained in molecular laboratory techniques at Wuhan University and the Wuhan Botanical Garden.

  President Xi Jinping has emphasized the importance of Africa's young people to Sino-African ties

  Africa's young people hold the key to the continent's future and, with the support of governments, should play a more active role in shaping the continent's ties with China, experts and officials say.

  Adhere Cavince, an expert on China-Africa relations at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology near Nairobi, says young people embody the future of China-Africa relations.

  "It is through tapping the energy, creativity and talent of the young people that meaningful and sustainable economic development can be realized in Africa," he says.

  Cavince says China's great surge in economic growth was to a large extent aided by targeted investments in young people, equipping them with skills, competence and proper attitudes.

  "That is how the Asian economic giant became the global center of manufacturing," he says.

  Adam Lane, the senior director for public affairs at Huawei Southern Africa, says young people represent the present as well as the future of Africa. Since they constitute the continent's largest demographic, it's crucial that they have the skills, knowledge, passion and resources to develop themselves, their countries and the continent itself, he says.

  "For Sino-African relations, it is important that the youth are able to broaden their understanding of each other, learn from each other, and collaborate with each other for trade, cultural understanding, economic development and social development," Lane says.

  Cavince says that as China and other countries turn to Africa for economic partnerships, the continent should empower young people with skills that are commensurate with the demands of a knowledge-based economy.

  President Xi Jinping has emphasized the importance of Africa's young people to Sino-African ties. In his speech during the opening ceremony of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation's Beijing Summit on Sept 3, he said young people are the key to the future of China-Africa ties.

  He said the measures contained in the eight initiatives that China launched for building a closer China-Africa community with a shared future were designed to help young people in Africa.

  "These measures will provide young Africans with more training and job opportunities and open up more space for their development," he said.

Kenya's Vice-President William Ruto (3rd from right), together with other invited guests, takes a photo with the winners of AVIC International's Africa Tech Challenge. Liu Hongjie / China Daily

  According to African Development Bank Group, young people are Africa's greatest asset. The continent's youth population is rapidly growing and expected to double to over 830 million by 2050, ADB said. If properly harnessed, this increase in the working-age population could support increased productivity and stronger, more inclusive economic growth across the continent, it said.

  However, the majority of young people in Africa do not have stable economic opportunities. Of Africa's nearly 420 million people between the ages of 15 and 35, one-third are unemployed and discouraged and another one-third are vulnerably employed, according to an ADB report titled Catalyzing Youth Opportunity Across Africa.

  Young people face roughly double the unemployment rate of adults, with significant variation by country. The problem is not just unemployment but underemployment, which peaks at just over half of young people in the labor force in low-income countries.

  Chinese enterprises, meanwhile, are helping to solve unemployment through increasing investment in the continent. According to international consultancy McKinsey & Co, Chinese enterprises have provided more than 300,000 jobs to African workers.

  In addition, nearly two-thirds of Chinese employers provide some type of skills training. Among companies engaged in construction and manufacturing, where skilled labor is necessary, half offer apprenticeship training, McKinsey said.

  For better socioeconomic integration, Cavince, the scholar in Kenya, says there is a need to promote cultural understanding among young Africans and Chinese.

  "Given their amenability and openness to new ideas, creating frameworks for dialogue among young people is an important consideration that should be emphasized," he says.

  Young Africans can increase their competitiveness by tapping into the revolutionary technologies that China is pioneering in diverse fields, Cavince says.

Kenyan student studying in China under the SAJOREC-CAS scholarship

  He says initiatives like the Sino-Africa Joint Research Centre at Kenya's Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology will significantly increase the integration of China and Africa through a fusion of skills and cultures.

  The research center has organized workshops to share ideas on how to improve livelihoods through science and technology. This has in turn given rise to other collaborative projects in various fields of science, such as horticulture and biotechnology research activities.

  One such development was a SAJOREC seminar at the Wuhan Botanical Garden of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in October 2013. The workshop brought together participants from Kenya and other African countries, as well as Chinese officials and scientists.

  Previous training sessions have benefited university lecturers and laboratory technicians drawn from leading universities in Africa, who have been trained in molecular laboratory techniques at Wuhan University and the Wuhan Botanical Garden.