He is Lamin Saidykhan, an alumnus of the Young Political Leadership Africa (YPLS Africa), from the Gambia. Lamin returned home after the YPLS Africa training in 2020 mobilized and inspired young people to establish a Youth Political Party in the Gambia called Progressive Democratic Party (PDP). Certainly, Lamin is truthfully a representative of the vision of YPLS Africa, Africa’s leading political leadership school. The PDP is led by visionary young people whose message of change, transparency, accountability, provision of basic social services, youth empowerment, investment in agriculture and decentralization are resonating across the Gambia very well.
It is time for the youth to lead responsibly. The numerical strength of young people is an asset and there needs to be a paradigm shift in the form and manner they participate in political processes to contribute to transformational leadership in the region. The transformation of African youth from being mere campaign mobilizers and voters will require some basic knowledge and skill sets to maximize their political participation as leaders and candidates.
Most importantly, there needs to be a shift in attitudes and behaviors with a cultivation of a new value system that will position them as a new generation of leaders that will be more accountable, responsive, and accessible to the needs of their people.
This will require long-term investment and commitment in the human capital development of young people. This is critical so that they are prepared to take advantage of emerging opportunities and space to serve as elected political leaders at different levels within the governance structures. While it may be true that financial resources play a major role in political processes, they are not the only determinant factor to guarantee elected offices.
With increased organizational skills, better planning, increased capacity to change the discourse of political engagement and motivation, effective communication of campaign messages, backed by some resources, young people can become agents of generational change in Africa’s political landscape, this is what the Young Political Leadership School is all about.
Currently 630 young leaders from across the ECOWAS region have benefitted from the program, alumni are winning elections and some serving as social activists.