Monday, November 27, 2017

Achieving SDGs through sport – Episode 9 - Dr. Gilles Klein

Achieving SDGs through sport – Episode 9
The Zoumki and Yaovi’s children
Dr. Gilles Klein, 27 November 2017

A real rejuvenation! For two weeks, we have been interested in the fate of youth. The young Chadian Zoumki and the young Togolese Yaovi have improved theirs to the strength of the wrist and the spirit. They took an initiative supported and rewarded by a francophone intergovernmental sports organization. Microfinance has allowed them to make a decisive first step on the path of sustainable development, which, from Africa, we have identified the process and selected six lessons last week. In 2030, Zoumki and Yaovi will be approaching forty years old. No doubt they will be parents.


When assessing the SDGs, which Africa will their children live in? Will the continent succeed in implementing the lesson learned from the Bangui garden? No sustainable peace without sustainable development! There is an urgency because Zoumki and Yaovi’s children will not be alone in expecting or claiming, sometimes with force, the benefits of sustainable development. In Africa or elsewhere, their connection to the world through all kinds of networks will make them more impatient to study, find a job, get married and start a family. But before finding this balance that is often obvious in the global North, they will face all the torments. These torments which my African friends have experienced closely in their families. Imirane's daughter, who was unsuccessfully searching for the most appropriate books or documents for her health and social training. The torments sometimes turn to drama. The daughter of Pierre who died for want of a visa in time, needing an emergency medical evacuation abroad. More generally, the youth of the global South feels "trapped”[1].


For some, it's the trap of despair. That of Mohamed Bouazizi, a young fruit and vegetable seller in Sidi Bouzid who was immolated by fire on January 4, 2011, after his goods were confiscated by the authorities. This is the trap of the frustration of Gode Mosle, a 22-year-old Syrian who arrived in Sweden, who shudders when he talks about his journey and the memory of the port of Zouara in western Libya where he embarked in October 2014 on a dilapidated trawler. This is the trap of the disempowerment shown by the Burkinabe rapper Smockey who, at the time of the 2014 rebellion in Ouagadougou, claims the need to hold a role of citizen watch and sentinel so that young people can find their place in the management business of the city and the nation.


It is also the trap of violence and extremism. Their families have suffered. The trap closed on Anis, this young Tunisian, a rejected asylum seeker, killing twelve people in Berlin on December 19, 2016. The trap of Riaz, the young Afghan refugee, lacking a sense of direction, who attacks with an axe the passengers on a train in Germany, July 18, 2016. But after all, these young people have chosen to rush into the trap of jihadist violence. A formidable trap set by this medieval reactionary utopianism[2] which is only the approximate interpretation of writings or words pronounced fourteen centuries ago by a merchant who became a prophet.


From this extremism, our young people and our families have suffered. The very day these lines are written, we salute the memory of those adults and young Parisians who were shot by extremism, at the Stade de France, Bataclan, Carillon and Petit Cambodge, in these places of sport, culture, conviviality, and meeting of Parisian youth. They had not chosen. It is especially on them that the trap has closed, as on so many others assassinated in Europe from 2015 to 2017, in Paris, Copenhagen, Berlin, Nice, Stockholm, Oslo, Manchester, London or Barcelona. All the same, this despair, this frustration, this demand for integration, this risk of violence and extremism, we had also experienced a few years earlier on the road to an airport.


Kinshasa - Sunday, June 12, 2011. Early in the morning, in front of the Grand Hotel, in the district of Gombe, we wait for the vehicles that will lead us to N'Djili airport. Official cars that will never arrive. The messenger has probably forgotten. That day, it will be public taxis and therefore no escort, no bikers to open the road. Over the course of the African missions, after having judged this procedure demonstrative and useless, we had quickly got used to these emissaries who open a passage in the circulation and clear a way in the crowd. We go up the avenue of liberation, then the triumphal boulevard on which we double or cross a few tens, then hundreds of young joggers with motley colors. Every 15-25 years of Kinshasa, and surrounding communities, Lingwala, Makala, Maluku and Masina, seem to have given the word. They form a kind of volunteer parade for transnational sports goods companies. Nike rivals Adidas, Qiaodan with 361 degrees. On the avenues of Kinshasa, the West rivals China.


The parade became a crowd that swelled over the hectometers. On the tens of kilometers of Lumumba Boulevard, it was thousands of young people who occupied the four lanes to and from the airport. The taxi driver explained that Sunday morning mass training was an occasion for conviviality or fitness for some, a political mobilization or the preparation of a rebellion for others. We were up to the communal house of Masina. The cars slowed down, struggled to sneak in and were forced to stop. Do not open the windows! the driver said firmly.


The youngsters began drumming on the roof, the hood and the trunk of the car, calling out the passengers: White! White! White! The situation became very tense. One of the members of the mission, an African-American colleague, and former GI, braving the recommendations of our driver, though it was good to open his window, perhaps to indicate the color of his skin or declare his solidarity. He was caught by the arm, then the shoulder. The reboot in force of the taxi stretched this hero a moment but pulled us off. That day I took two lessons. On the one hand, American cowboys often ignore the context for having forgotten to be interested in and transgress without conscience the risk limit. On the other hand, the mass and the power released by these thousands of young people, between joggers and rebels, made me think: tomorrow! When will this African youth wake up!


That day in Kinshasa, we had taken the full force of the demographic issues of Africa and its possible consequences. By 2050 the continent's population will increase by 111 percent to 2.5 billion inhabitants[3]. The study "All the countries of the world"[4] of the National Institute of Demographic Studies (INED) notes a population explosion and announces its strengthening, Africa then rising to 4.4 billion inhabitants. Gilles Pison, author of the study indicates that this growth will be all the more felt given that the population of the planet will not progress so fast, from 7.3 to 9.8 billion in 2050 and stagnate to 11 billion in 2100. In a way, poor agricultural areas will populate faster than the favored industrialized areas of the planet.


This inequality of progress will be seen in Africa itself. The population of the two most industrialized areas will grow less than that of less developed areas. Southern Africa and Northern Africa will grow by + 22% and + 77%, respectively, with West Africa growing by + 125% and East Africa by + 117%. This will result in noticeable changes in the ranking of national populations. By 2050, Nigeria will remain at the top of the African rankings, increasing from 182 to 397 million. The DRC will become second rising from 73 to 194 million. The number effect felt in Kinshasa was not just an illusion. Then comes Ethiopia (165 million), Egypt (162 million) and Tanzania (129 million).


During our stay in Niger, in 2008 and 2009, Sylvie, Chief of Staff of the General Secretariat, noted the weakness of material and human resources in the field of prevention, gynecology, obstetrics and neonatology: the terrible report of the ravages of uterine cancer caused by the papilloma virus, the total destitution of screening and prevention; the distress of women suffering difficult deliveries in the emergency room, a trip families sometimes take too late in makeshift vehicles; the material deprivation of the hospital which leads the families to have to buy the operative fields to be able to practice a caesarean section by the only obstetrician surgeon in the country. Since 2011, with President Mahamadou Issoufou, the situation has improved. But again in 2015, Diop Rachida Addoulaye tells[5] : "In Niger when a baby dies, we often see this as inevitable ... In the early days, in the emergency department, I saw several babies die daily. Some mothers came from distant villages, and could not get to the hospital in time to save their children. "


In the INED study, Niger is precisely the country with the highest population growth rate (+ 260%) and an average of 7.6 children per woman. How to cope with such fertility? To ensure the health of the mother and reduce child mortality, which were respectively the fifth and fourth MDGs. It will be necessary to aid, much more than we have done so far, the girls of Imirane in their training to be doctors, midwives, nurses and nurse's aides.


In 2015, shortly after the Addis Ababa conference, shortly before the publication of the 2030 program, the Jeune Afrique journalist Alain Faujas commented on INED's study: "This demographic growth can be a blessing for Africa if the arms and brains that multiply there find a job to make the continent's wealth grow. It could be a curse if the continent's economies remained based on their subsurface rent and the informal sector. As the UN finalizes its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the international community would do well to prioritize funding for "robust, inclusive and sustainable" African development according to its current mantra, to accommodate this immense youth »[6].


A huge youth! This is both the memory left by the Kinshasa experience and the knowledge derived from demographic studies. The needs will be immense. The report of the annual forum of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation held on April 8, 2017, in Marrakech emphasized that the future of the continent "depends above all on its ability to provide an adequate response to the expectations of a youth that has become a major majority"[7]. Youth demographics show the magnitude of the problem. By 2100, almost half of the under-25s of the planet will be African. From 15% in 2000, 34% in 2050, the proportion jumps to 47% in 2100. Unemployment for 15-24-year-olds is estimated as endemic: 50% in South Africa and Namibia, 48% in Libya, 37% in Tunisia. On the other hand, less than 10% in Burkina Faso, Niger, Rwanda, Burundi or Benin.


Therefore, do not be surprised if many of these young people try to emigrate: nearly 40% in sub-Saharan Africa, 37% in North Africa. Most of the postulants are from higher education with 50% of them in Ghana. In this blog, we have already discussed the imperative need to create jobs and to design adapted training courses that are able to keep this youth in the country[8]. Stay in the country to start drawing the loop of sustainable development learned in the garden of Bangui. This loop will avoid the infernal cycle of poverty that we have constantly encountered in Africa and that we report in this blog:unification of youth, endemic youth unemployment, family poverty, temptation to emigrate, crossing the land, closer to the coast, crossing the seas, staying in transit camps, and in the best case obtaining an eternal precarious status in the hoped-for global North.


Each to their own! The sustainable development loop and the hellish cycle of poverty keep on chasing me. On October 14, 2017, I was watching a talk show on a French channel. The guest was Jacques Attali, economist, essayist and former special adviser to President François Mitterand. Jacques Attali fascinates as much as he irritates some. Be that as it may, it's a smuggler of ideas, a sort of Hermes of knowledge that is able to give you access to the essence of a question and a vision of the future. His books, his lectures, his words have always helped me a lot to think and act. With regard to these two inseparable processes, he declared: "Thinking without acting does not make sense to me. Acting without thinking makes you the puppet of another” [9].

In this television program, during which he presented his latest work on the sea, here is how he summarized the scenario of the future of this African youth: "... the Mediterranean which was destined to be nothing, since it was a small lake in the middle of nowhere, is again in an extraordinarily important situation, because it is at the meeting point of the most privileged and richest continent of the planet, Europe, seven hundred (700) million inhabitants, with a lot of misery and poverty, but the most privileged, and below or beside, in the South one billion inhabitants who will become two billion in thirty (30) years and who are there and who if we do not make sure that they grow will not stay there, but will move, first to the coasts. Indeed, the Mediterranean is taking on a new meaning, that a sense of movement that will be massive ... what we see is just the beginning, the beginning of what will happen if we cannot create the conditions of a development of Africa. The Mediterranean will be the place, the challenge of the mirror of human questions and the sea will play a role ... this will be played mainly in the Mediterranean»[10].Sustainable development to avoid migration crises! Sport, like any other sector, must better meet the expectations of young people, from Africa or elsewhere.

Next: asap

[1]Wilton Park (2017), Connecting youth and government for a more stable world: co-creation and the evolving social contract, Wednesday 7 – Friday 9 June 2017 | WP1544
[2]Gilbert Achcar (2015), La religion peut-elle servir le progrès social ?, Le Monde diplomatique, juin 2015, p. 3.

[3] Jeune Afrique, Demain, un humain sur quatre sera africain : pour le meilleur ou pour le pire ? Publié le 15 septembre 2015 à 16h58 — par Alain Faujas.
[4] Gilles Pison, 2015, Tous les pays du monde (2015), Populations & Sociétés, numéro 525, septembre 2015,
[5] France 24, Les observateurs, Naître prématuré au Niger, un combat pour la survie,
[6]Alain Faujas (2015), Demain un humain sur quatre sera africain, Jeune Afrique, numéro 2853, Voir aussi Demain, un humain sur quatre sera africain : pour le meilleur ou pour le pire ? Publié le 15 septembre 2015 à 16h58 —

[7] Jeune Afrique, Démographie : quel avenir pour les moins de 25 ans sur le continent ? Publié le 15 avril 2017 à 11h53,

[8]Klein, G. (2017), Le sport et les cercueils flottants de la Méditerranée : quels emplois pour les diplômés chômeurs africains ? 25 janvier, 2017 and the floating coffins of the Mediterranean: what jobs for the unemployed graduates of Africa
[9]Le Parisien (2015), Jacques Attali, l'homme aux mille vies, 25 octobre 2015, 7h00
[10]Jacques Attali - On n'est pas couché 14 octobre 2017 #ONPC,



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