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BRIEF August 23, 2021

Youth Transforming Africa: Giving Youth a Space to Discuss the Development Challenges Affecting Them


 © Dasan Bobo, World Bank

The Youth Transforming Africa (YTA) Network is an initiative supported by the World Bank Group in Sub-Saharan Africa. The network is made up of winners of the World Bank’s annual Blog4Dev competition and African youth leaders. Currently, the network includes over 100 young people from 41 countries, ranging from the age of 18 to 32.

The YTA’s vision is to give Africa’s youth a seat at the table when development topics affecting them are discussed. The goal is to offer  them an opportunity to better understand the challenges facing their own continent, voice their concerns, express their views and thoughts, and in return share ideas and solutions that help improve young people’s lives.


Youth Transforming Africa is built around  three principles:

- Mutual listening:  A platform for dialogue between Africa’s youth and institutions involved in the continent’s development, including the World Bank Group.

- Semi-open branding:  As a movement, the YTA  brand is co-owned by the World Bank  and the YTA community. Each governing body has specific responsibilities and ownership for carrying them through, while working as a partnership. 

- Horizontality and verticality: The YTA  gathers young Africans with various profiles, regardless of age and educational/professional background (horizontality). However, depending on their areas of interest and expertise, some members are also organized around thematic clusters (verticality).


Activities are organized around the following three pillars:

- Identifying  young Africans willing to act as Community Leaders in the dialogue on development, through their social media channels, their involvement in civil society organizations, or their professional activities;

-  Networking and capacity-building activities for the  members; and

-  Building a bridge between African Youth and stakeholders involved in the continent’s development, inside and outside the World Bank.

These activities involve  various forms and can be handled at either a regional level or country level, depending on the targeted audience and objectives. 


Launched in 2014 by the World Bank’s Kenya Office, the Blog4Dev competition is an annual writing contest, inviting young people to weigh in on a topic critical to their country’s economic development. The competition helps engage with Africa’s youth and provide a platform for them to share their views—and solutions—about development topics that are important to them. 

Since 2019, Blog4Dev has become a regional competition that is open to all 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The winners regularly contribute content to the Youth Transforming Africa blog platform.

Themes and winners from previous competitions:  

Blog4Dev 2021: How to work with governments and civil society organizations to respond to the impact of COVID-19 and build a stronger post-pandemic economic and social system

Blog4Dev 2020: Empowering Africa’s women and girls by ending child marriage

Blog4Dev 2019 (sub-regional):  Solutions to closing Africa’s digital divide

Blog4Dev 2018 (Kenya): What will it take to end gender-based violence


Ideas4Action (or Ideas for Action) is a joint program of the World Bank Group and the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at the Wharton School. It is a knowledge platform connecting young leaders all around the world who are passionate about the future development of our world. It also provides students and young professionals from around the world with a unique opportunity to help shape the international development agenda and to take an active role in changing the world.

Since 2015, it has been hosting an annual competition  during which youths from around the world design ideas for financing the UN’s new development agenda. The competition acts as a catalyst to spark global conversation among millennials and seeks to encourage them to contribute their own voice to the development conversation. Each year, teams from Africa ranked among the global top three out of thousands of participants all over the world.

Last Updated: Aug 23, 2021


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