A few days ago I was reading an article in TIME magazine that totally enthralled me, “Arrivederci, Italia”. The article highlights the flight of young Italians away from their homeland simply because they have no chance of career advancement.
That is, of course, if they can even get jobs, what with the double digit unemployment. The authors of the piece interviewed Italians ranging from 25-39 years of age, living in places as diverse as Scotland, Beijing and Dubai.
The interviewees spanned both sexes and different academic qualifications, but despite this diversity they complained of one thing. “We aren’t given the chance to develop a career because we aren’t trusted by the older generation, they tell us to wait for our turn and be patient”.
Well, these young Italians obviously had enough, so they packed their bags and went off to places that valued their abilities and work ethic rather than the grey hair on their heads. Well, after bleeding young talent for years, the Italian government is finally fretting about the loss of its best and brightest. Whether they will be able to stem this tide is something that the TIME article didn’t answer.
Italy’s problem is one that I feel many developing nations have. We often have a cadre of dinasours that simply refuse to hand the reins of state to the young. I find it unfortunate that these leaders do this because, correct me if I’m wrong, no nation has ever prospered off the backs of the elderly.
It’s the young that can carry the weight of a national economy and to pretend otherwise is foolish. What one often finds is that the young pay for everything through their taxes and what not, but the elderly keep a tight grip on political control.
I have a theory. I think many developing nations have such a high rate of corruption because ‘old’ people are trying to stock up on money and property before they are too old to work.
Rwanda has two things going for it. Corruption is low and the economy is growing at a healthy rate. Does the fact that the younger generation has a huge role in government and industry have something to do with this?
Let’s look at the facts. I took the time and walked around different government ministries, court houses, non governmental organisations and businesses and what was the common demoninator? The fact that those working in these sectors barely had grey hair.
It’s as if the government of Rwanda went out of its way to ensure that the bright and the hardworking had an opportunity to fulfill their potential. Well, without trying to seem overly cocky, I want to urge our leaders (the elderly ones at least) to go out of their way to work themselves out of a job.
Don’t make yourself indispensible. Take a young person under your wing and teach them all you know. After all, and I urge you to admit it, all this “Facebook, Twitter, Youtube stuff” is rather confusing. There is nothing quite as sad as seeing an old man, or woman forcing the issue. We have people rapping in some countries, what next? Shall we see our elderly trying to be ‘cool’, speaking in slang and borrowing their grandchildren clothes?
On a totally different topic I want to urge all the people who can travel to do so. I was chatting with an American friend two nights ago and I came to realise just how insular we are. I mean, this lady had been to over fifty countries in the world and travelled to more African nations that most Africans had.
We cannot blame poverty because I know lots of people who could afford to travel about. Sure, we might not be able to get visas easily, but I’m pretty sure that getting a visa to Ghana or Mozambique isn’t that hard. Travel around, meet new people, share and learn experiences. Rwanda isn’t the ends all and be’s all.