4 ways Africa can prepare its youth for the digital economy

By Weforum.org (Simbarashe Moyo)

More than ever, it is vital for Africa to prepare her youth for the digital economy and the future of work. The World Development Report 2019 notes that the labour market of the future will require new skills including digital fluency, creative thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, empathy and adaptability. With these new demands in place, it would be remiss of Africa not to strengthen her biggest asset: the youth who make up around 60% of the continent’s population.

Appropriate action will help the continent to harness this promising demographic dividend. Furthermore, a proactive stance is likely to reduce the risk of massive labour substitution and endemic unemployment, while enabling the continent to leverage the new entrepreneurial and economic opportunities associated with the digital economy.

Although countries like Rwanda and Kenya are already making considerable progress in preparing their youth for the digital economy and the future of work, more African countries are yet to take meaningful action to address the yawning skills-gap and digital infrastructure inadequacies bedevilling the continent. Here are four strategies African nations should use to prepare their youth for the digital economy and the future of work:

1. Creating responsive education systems

This entails reviewing and updating the education curricula at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Equipping youth with technical skills like digital fluency will empower them to assume responsibilities like coding and virtual designing, which will be in demand in the digital economy. Other African nations might draw lessons from Kenya’s Secondary School Practical Open-source Curriculum (SPOC) which is training high school students to code. In addition, soft skills like creativity and adaptability will enable young people to thrive in a fast-paced digital economy in which employment will likely be more about brief online tasks than long-term onsite jobs.

2. Formulating policies for the digital economy

Given the uncertainties of the technological revolution and the consequent susceptibility of the digital economy to cyber-crime and monopolies, African nations must formulate regulatory policies that keep stakeholders in check. Such policies will help to create an environment in which young people’s digital enterprises can grow, and in which appropriate education and employment opportunities will be accessible to all young people. Policies that promote life-long education in organisations are also critical in helping our youth easily adapt to volatile environments. In addition, formulating digital policies is vital for African nations to guard against situations where young people are the perpetrators or victims of data theft and invasion of privacy, among other ethical issues plaguing the digital space. African nations should, however, be careful not to stifle creativity, innovation and warranted freedoms in this process of regulating the digital economy.

3. Expanding digital infrastructure

Developing nationwide digital infrastructure, especially fibre optic networks, and improving access to electricity and digital devices may help to improve connectivity within African nations. This will enable more young people, including those in rural areas, to access high-speed internet as they acquire and utilise new skills – thereby alleviating inequalities and optimising shared prosperity in a digital economy. The Icyerekezo broadband satellite launched by Rwanda in February this year is a good example of expanding digital infrastructure – and which can be emulated by other African nations. Expanding digital infrastructure is particularly important because, compared to other continents, Africa has the poorest internet connectivity.

4. Optimising public-private cooperation

Collaboration between governments, multinational development banks and the private sector will create room for innovative financial models which promote upskilling among Africa’s youth. This will also reduce inequalities caused by duplication of efforts, especially when establishing digital infrastructure in African nations. Public-private cooperation will therefore enable more young Africans to access training programmes and digital infrastructure.

If African nations do adopt the above-outlined strategies, they will enhance the chances of Africa’s youth to prosper in the digital economy and the future of work. With a well-prepared young population, it will be possible for Africa to leapfrog into prosperity and make progress towards achieving the African Union’s Agenda 2063 programme, which aims to transform Africa into a global powerhouse. Implementing the proposed strategies will, however, require genuine political will and unwavering commitment on the part of African governments and their citizens.

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How can young people secure a better future for Africa?

By Weforum.org Gerald Chirinda

With 70% of Africa’s population under the age of 30, we as a continent are presented with a great opportunity and, possibly, a great challenge. Young Africans today are taking actions that not only have an immediate impact, but will also determine the future of the continent for decades to come.

Never has there been such weighty responsibility on the shoulders of young people. Never has there been the influence in the hands of young people like the influence they carry now. But for Africa to reap the dividends she has longed for, it is up to our generation to make sure that influence is channelled correctly and directed towards relevant issues that affect not only ourselves, but generations after us. This can only be achieved if we come together as young people and begin to address the challenges before us as a continent.

The role of African youth is drastically changing, but so are some of the challenges we face, such as employability and entrepreneurship opportunities. The strength of any society is within the strength and resolve of its youth – what investment are young people making in our continent today?

In the past 6 months, I’ve listened to the argument stating that we have spent more time focused on what’s happening in other continents, like the US presidency, and less on local issues. I have had the privilege of being invited to speak at different platforms across Africa and have met and engaged with fellow young people who know less about my country Zimbabwe but more of what’s happening in the US and in Europe, and these discussions brought us to a conclusion that as a continent we have not done a good job in telling our own stories, both good and bad, affecting our people. (Could you tell us a bit about your background here – in what capacity are you listening to these arguments?) There are important matters such as the thousands of lives of fellow Africans lost at sea when trying to leave the continent for greener pastures, youth unemployment, gross mismanagement of government institutions and resources, xenophobia among our own people and the general restlessness and frustrations of young African people.

There’s no problem with us engaging in discourse at a global level, but I feel it is important for us to exert more of our time and energy on issues that affect our continent and our people. I believe if we, as youth, don’t take ownership and responsibility for our problems and challenges, we run the risk of allowing other nations, organizations and institutions to do so on their terms. My question to fellow young Africans is are we creating a future in which generations after us can be confident?

A lot has been said about Africa and its rise in the past few years. For this to be true, I believe it requires its people to also rise and drive the agenda, not wait for instruction or direction from other nations. If this doesn’t happen, Africa may still rise, but only for those with an agenda for the continent. This then begs me the question of fellow young Africans: what is our agenda, and what are we doing to shape that agenda?

With regard to employability, according to the African Development Bank report, by 2050 Africa will be home to 38 of the 40 youngest countries in the world, with median populations under 25 years of age. This will result in an estimated 10-12 million new people joining the labour force each year. These statistics clearly indicate that a considerable amount of investment must go into human development to unlock a demographic dividend. What innovative policies and programmes do we, as young people, want to make sure that this happens and that this growth will not result in a demographic time bomb for Africa?

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution upon us and the rate at which technology is advancing it is critical that we have a sufficiently educated and skilled workforce to be able to drive Africa in this direction. There is currently a mismatch between industry demands and the education curriculum. Education institutions need to update their curricula to align with the direction in which the world and Africa are going. If we ignore this, our young people will have irrelevant qualifications that the continent will be unable to benefit from.

It is worrying to note the rate at which young educated Africans are leaving to seek more opportunities abroad. The grass is not always greener on the other side, however, as leaders of other nations are also facing domestic challenges and therefore not prioritizing immigrants. If our educational institutions can include entrepreneurship as a mandatory subject at all levels of education, more young people will be better equipped to create jobs and address the issue of high unemployment.

I am a strong advocate for local solutions to local challenges, but for this to happen, we need to encourage and cultivate innovation among our youth. It is encouraging to note that there are pockets of this already taking place across the continent, where we can see uptake and use of locally-designed technology. More of this needs to happen across the board, covering the different sectors of our economies, as Africa still lags behind the rest of the world when it comes to introducing disruptive technology. Human development is about creating opportunities and building a person’s ability to innovate and be entrepreneurial. Significant investment needs to go towards this.

With the growth of the continent, it only makes sense for us to industrialize in order to be less reliant on importing products for consumption from outside the continent. According to the African Economic Outlook 2017 report, Africa’s growing population is expected to generate a rise in consumer spending from $680 billion in 2008 to $2.2 trillion in 2030. This increased spending has the potential to lead to greater prosperity.

The growth in Africa’s population presents a huge opportunity for entrepreneurial innovations and ideas to be implemented. It does, however, require strong political will to enable the right environment to be created to encourage these ideas and for entrepreneurs to be supported in their different stages of growth, from start-up, early stage and growth stage right through to becoming large corporations.

As you may notice, this article asks more questions than it provides solutions. The best way for us to answer these is if we begin to engage in conversations and dialogue amongst ourselves as young Africans and see what solutions we can come up with for a better Africa. We spend time complaining about poor leadership in our countries, but my final question is: are we ourselves prepared to succeed the generation that precedes us?

Let us intentionally create a culture that encourages the building and shaping of the Africa that we want. The change we want begins with us coming together and developing our own culture and value system for thinking, planning, implementation, accountability, integrity and collaboration. It is up to us as young Africans to shape the narrative of our continent. Let us begin to do so, in every sphere of society.

Opinion: Fasihah Hasan: Angry youth will save SA

By Citizen.co.za (Simnikiwe Hlashaneni)

Millenials have a more urgent and immediate purpose to change what is wrong in South Africa.

‌Young radicalism is the future of democratic social justice, if the new wave of young political activists becoming lawmakers is anything to go by.

And for “born-free” politician Fasihah Hassan, who was acclaimed for her role during the nationwide youth revolt for free tertiary education, an angry and impatient youth is the best thing for South Africa’s democracy.

Born to United Democratic Front (UDF) activist parents at the dawn of democracy in 1994, Hassan says she and her peers have a different and necessary perspective on the ills that face the country. It’s the more urgent and immediate sense of purpose that drove the #FeesMustFall movement.

“The world is not a fair place and it’s our job to make it more fair. But once you understand that the world is unfair you understand that all that anger you have is important, but it needs to be channelled,” she says.

‌Speaking just days before her inauguration as an ANC member of the Gauteng legislature, Hassan says making the transition from student activist to politician, to policy maker has not been an easy road to travel.

“It has been a long and difficult journey which people don’t see. People see the front of the house. They don’t see what’s going on behind the scenes back in the kitchen, so to speak. But I seriously believe the kind of student activism we were doing before and during #FeesMustFall has played a huge role in shaping how I think and deal with the issues.”

As an ANC Youth League branch leader herself, Hassan is not afraid to criticise the organisation that moulded her, saying it was necessary for change in the ANC to be driven from within.

“The difficulty with the older generation is that they see the issues, but they would rather only bring it up internally. Whereas with us, as much as we have a sense of belonging in the ANC, it doesn’t prevent me from criticising where I have seen wrong.”

And with the layers and layers of internal structures, age groups and the gender factor, a young woman might not have risen so quickly into leadership in the ANC 10 years ago, but the ANC elders are beginning to hear young people, Hassan says. She admits that some of the youth disillusionment at the ANC evidenced in the last two elections could be attributed to the weakening of the ANCYL over the past decade.

However, she says channels for young people to be heard within the mother body have improved and have put young women in more meaningful platforms, such as the Young Women’s Desk.

#AfricaDay: Africa Home to Vast Opportunities for South American Youth

By iol.co.za (PHUMLA WILLIAMS)

We continue to see the role of media and communication as central to what we all are striving for in the continent.

We owe it to ourselves to make the continent a success story. The more we trust each other with direct investments the more we are likely to grow and attract foreign direct investments to our continent.

There is something poetic in the fact that South Africa’s Presidential inauguration falls on 25 May, which is also Africa Day. On this day in 1963 all independent African states set aside their differences to form an organisation now known as the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).

South Africa was one of the last nations to join this organisation which then became the venue for the birth of the African Union in 2002.

In the midst of organising the Presidential inauguration, Government Communication and Information System hosted an African Press Attachés Round Table on 22 May 2019 at Tshedimosetso House, the seat of government communication.

This gathering was in line with the resolutions of the African Union Specialised Technical Committee on Communication and ICT which, amongst others, seeks to promote the work and achievements of integration and inter continental trading as Africans.

This engagement brought together Africa’s Press Attachés and editors from across the African continent based in South Africa, as well as press officers under the AU banner.

As we reflected on the continents priorities, we noted how far we have come.

The dramatic rise of African members states as a significant trading block to our country, overtaking Europe in 2013 and on par with Asia since 2014, is a clear indication that South Africa’s prosperous future is intertwined with the continent’s future.

The economic adviser to President Cyril Ramaphosa, Ms Trudi Makhaya illustrated how InvestSA is actively collaborating with Investment Promotion Agencies on the continent and have signed Memoranda of Understanding with the Kenyan Investment Authority, the Uganda Investment Authority and GAFI in Egypt.

The intention is to foster closer collaboration between these agencies in attracting Foreign Direct Investments to the continent.

Our commitments to the vision of Pan Africanists including, Nkhrumah of Ghana, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Sekou Toure of Guinea and Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, find voice in the growing partnerships between fellow nations on the continent. The implementation of this vision is well illustrated by a series of developments across Africa.

Ms Makhaya informed us that intra-Africa Investments have been growing at a compound rate of 32.5%. This is impressive! Africa’s rising population market of 1.2 Billion people is compelling, our story of an integrated Africa with a gross domestic product of more than US$ 3.4 trillion is remarkable.

We as African communicators ought to tell the stories, and inform our youth of the vast opportunities that are available across Africa.

Knowledge is power and this was reflected in the presentation of Mr Thulani Mavuso, the Acting Director-General of Home Affairs, on innovations which promote and ensure that Africans have free movement to trade, to study and to live in South Africa. The web based e-Home Affairs system is truly easy, efficient and secure. These interventions have now improved the facilitation of people, movement and goods, making it easier for African Tourists, business and academia to come to South Africa.

During the interaction discussions focussed on the important role that communicators, in partnership with the media can play to shape perceptions of our continent. In today’s world, perception has a price.

What is perceived to be real often takes on a life of its own and if we do not promote our continent, its virtues and opportunities we risk opening the door and allowing misperceptions to take hold.

As we commemorate Africa Day with President, Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa we should take pride in our achievements as a continent whilst bearing in mind that more needs to be done to realise the full vision of the founding fathers of the AU.

Since its formation, the African Union has strived to build a better, more united and prosperous continent.

The organisation has shifted its focus to ensure economic emancipation and socio-economic development in Africa. It currently leads the promotion of regional and market integration that will see the lowering of transport costs, enable the free movement of goods, services and people, and encourage the optimisation of resources.

We dare not rest until all who call Africa home are empowered to build a better tomorrow, free from injustice, inequality and unemployment.

Opinion: Nigerian Youths Need Value Re-Orientation – Ajibare

By Independent.ng (Popoola Yaqoub)

Tosin Ajibare Gold was the youngest gubernatorial candidate in the July 14 Governorship Election in Ekiti State .The 36 year-old flagbearer of the Independent Democrat Party in this interview with YAQOUB POPOOLA, he spoke on developments in the state.Excerpts:

You contested the last Governorship Election in Ekiti State. What was your experience like?

Yes i did, it was a wholesome experience, with daunting, challenges, but at the same time fulfilling. It was putting everything online for what i believed in and it was worth it. The experience and additional knowledge gathered is something that cannot be acquired within any walls or by tale bearing. It was tough and at the same time encouraging, One experiences the very best of people and the supposedly worst, it was like a check and balance thing and a trial of ones beliefs, values and conviction.

Going by the outcome of the results .Would you say that you are betrayed by the youths?

Not in any way, if there was any betrayal, I think it was to the youth themselves My candidacy and campaign was about our reality and our salvation, my ability to deliver the salvation was not in question, but since it’s about all of us, each and every one has his or her part to play. By the grace of God, I played my own part against all odds, they also played their own part, we all get to bear the consequences of our individual actions.

Since my standing up to give the youths a voice is not about my personal interest, I believed i was not in any way betrayed.

The issue of unemployment is like a synonym to youths, the high cost of living is general knowledge, we all knew what was at stake and we made our choice. It’s not about me; it’s about us and our future.

The involvement of youths in crime and corruption both at home and in the diaspora has reached an alarming proportion.What would you suggest as solution?

This issue gives us constant and continuous headache, and the most unfortunate aspect is that it seems like those at the helms of affairs fail to see the trend for what it really is, “the damnation of a future we are yet to enter”

As part of the solutions, there is need for an intensive value re-orientation campaign across board, aimed at awakening lost virtues and encourage positive values, a campaign so intensive that it would be akin to a political campaign for an executive position. Also there is need to nip these things at the bud and by so discourage it but most times we just look on until the snake has grown big enough to swallow a whole human being, that’s when we now term it as dangerous. An example of this is the Yahoo Yahoo trend. Even up till now focus is still on the fruits while we keep looking at the roots despite being exposed on top soil.

Also there is need to put up a definitive stance against vices, this issue has gone overboard.

What led you into youths activism?

The knowledge of what our society should be versus our present reality.The knowledge of what contributions youths can make in creating a better society as against the way talents are been wasted through negligence.

Youths are a blessing to any Nation; the period of youthfulness should be harnessed not wasted. I got really involved when i decided i have had enough of the phrase “the richest place is the graveyard because so many people are buried there with their potentials”.

My generation will not die with her potentials, in fact when we die, we want to die empty, having exhausted all our potentials and ideas to the betterment of this Nation and the World.

You are collaborating with other youths organisation of value reorientation .What informed this action ?

The extent of decadence in our society, we came to a conclusion that only a better people can bring about a better nation.

Tears of the Nigerian youths

By Thenationonlineng.net (Ogu Chukwuebuka Kizito)

Waking up just like every other good Nigerian with a thankful heart to God for gift of life. He hopes that it will be a better day for him. With so much aspirations and yet unfulfilled dreams he sets out for the days task. Praying that each day brings him closer to his dreams. As time passes him by without realisation of his dreams, he becomes a shadow of his true self.

Countless times, he has looked for a better life, a better day in his father land without success. Always coming home with a disappointed face and when he can’t hold it anymore. shouts; ‘ where will my help come from?’; if only I were a German , or a Canadian, or a French, or even one of those refugees in Europe, maybe my life will be better and more fruitful than this ‘ he cries.

This is the cry of the young, Nigerian who has not found succor in his life, though everyday he struggles. In every job opportunity, the chances of being employed is one out of 50,000 or even more as he had no Godfather or money to protect his interests.

It seems as if the system was created for him to suffer in his youth. Countless times he has heard people say that the youth is the future of tomorrow, especially during a political outing, he knew that the adage did not work in his country.

So much promises by the politicians and he had already deduced that it will take a lifetime or a century for such promises to be fulfilled. The promise heaven and earth to the unhappy Nigerian youth into voting for them and when voted, turn to their real color. Give me my daily bread oh lord, he prays each time he falls into this bad mood. For at a time, he doesnt care what is happening around him, all he craves for is a daily bread.

It is a country where dreams rarely come true. Is it so much to ask for that? The say shoot for the stars and maybe you will land in the moon, but those words are the really feasible here?

For many young men and women have tried but only found themselves in the cloud and some never made it out of the atmosphere let alone the stars, while others are still on the land waiting for an opportunity. Do you not see these young Nigerians?

However, the Nigerian youth whom after being frustrated at their fate in their father land have sought for greener pasture in unknown countries and yet the receive criticism and condemnation.

Young men and women of high intelligence quotient and creative mind have been whisked off from the shores of this country when discovered by other countries and are never given a chance to play a part in their country’s development. Frustration and suffering have chased many out of the country, many have turned to criminal activities and yet many more are present, waiting for an opportunity to shine to the world.

Will this opportunity not be provided for this young people? For Nigeria holds the best brains in the world, but what is its use, if it’s not harnessed? What will happen to a young sprouting plant if it cannot be planted on a soil and carefully cultivated? She withers and dies.

Nevertheless, with what is happening in our country today, it’s quite disheartening to know that much has not changed in this country. It seems that things keep getting more complicated as the only solution to our problems is by creating more problems.

With so much teeming young people, few are lucky and yet many are left to rot and die. A country endowed with so much riches and abundance of minerals , she has used them as seen fit for the populace and yet little or nothing have been put in place for these young people who want to serve their fatherland with all their heart.

Many are hopelessly roaming the streets asking themselves “what did I ever commit for being a part of my country? For suffering have turned once young and vibrant men, old men. Year after year, millions graduate from higher institutions only to come to the realization that the reasons for going to school have changed. One frustrated youth is a ticking time bomb let alone when the country is over flowing with them.

Finally, all hands must be on deck for the prognosis of this ailment. This youth who are your sons and daughters should be inculcated into the day to day activity of the nation. Opportunities should be created to suck up these unhappy men and women for a better Nigeria. Different medium should be used to help this young people play a part in their countries development. For If action is not taken to remedy this problem, its only chaos that will be eminent in our future and like a pregnant woman , only time will tell what she will give birth to. Doom, doom, doom, is what awaits a country with no planes for the future generations.

Yes everybody wants better life, better economy, and better means of earning money but do not forget that a nation that has no plan for the future generation is going to be a failed state.