The All- African Students Union (AASU), has called on African governments to review their policies and programmes towards the empowerment and strengthening of women participation in governance and economic activities.
The AASU also asked the international community, particularly African governments, to devote more attention to education, health and environment and the wellbeing of adolescent girls to enable them to play meaningful roles in the future.
A statement signed by Mr. Fred Awaah, General Secretary and Head of Mission of AASU, in commemoration of World Population Day, copied to the Ghana News Agency, said the event sought to raise awareness on adolescent pregnancy and global population issues.
It said, “it is mind boggling to find Africans mired in abject poverty and diseases amongst others albeit its endowment with human and natural resources’’.
The statement noted that the population of Africa was the fastest growing in the world with more than 65 per cent being youth, who were without adequate and strategic plans to cater for their basic needs.
It said according to a United Nations’ Fund for Population Activities (UNFP) report, ‘’about 16 million girls under age 18 give birth each year with another 3.2 million who undergo unsafe abortions in Africa and other developing countries’’.
The statement noted that some youth who were completely despaired and disillusioned travel at the peril of their lives in search of better living conditions.
It said the educational system in Africa woefully inadequate and producing unemployed and unemployable graduates.
According to the statement, ‘’women and adolescent girls singularly are among the most affected by this gloomy situation with many of them rarely in school and some of them have become victims of rape and forced marriage’’.
“More efforts are needed to reverse the tendency and give women their rightful places in society starting with protecting adolescent girls, promoting their rights to education and adulthood,’’ it adds.
The AASU is a continental representative organization of democratic students union in all 55 countries in Africa.
The body has a consultative status with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and focuses on education, human rights, democracy, culture, gender issues amongst others.