Offer opportunities for youth to grow, African governments urged

Delegates during the Kusi Ideas Festival at Intare Conference Arena in Kigali, Rwanda on December 8, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP.

African governments have been asked to provide opportunities for inclusive development especially among its young people.

Dr Donald Kaberuka, former president of the Africa Development Bank, said leaders should champion equal access to opportunities for all.

“The biggest equaliser is access to education. It is not just the number of kids we’re sending to school, but the learning outcomes. The next 60 years are not going to be the same as the last 60, the market is different,” Dr Kaberuka said Sunday at the ongoing Kusi Ideas Festival in Kigali, Rwanda.

At the panel discussion on how to turn the continents’ population explosion into an economic boom, Ms Sylvia Mulinge, chief customer officer at Safaricom, said that the challenge was how we create opportunities for the youth.

“There is an opportunity in creating digital jobs. As it is, you cannot have a strong company that exists in a weak society. Private companies now also have a responsibility to support government efforts in creating these opportunities for development not just of the young people but entire value chains,” Ms Mulinge said.

Ms Bintu Zahara Sakor, Africa & Norwegian researcher and data analyst, Peace Research Institute Oslo challenged the continent’s leaders to put aside ethnic division and work together to safeguard young people’s economic future.

“African states need to work more closely together especially in getting a united outfit. This needs to be championed by the youth and we can only achieve that through educating them. That’s how to guarantee their economic future,” Ms Sakor said.

Dr Carlos Lopez, Honorary professor at Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, University of Cape Town argued that if the continent made the right policies for the majority, then their future would be secured.

“Africans are living longer and fertility is going down, coupled with technology uptake by youth pushing us forward, but we need to produce rather than consume only. This is how to secure the future of the continent and its young people,” Dr Lopez said.

On her part, Dr Agnes Kalibata, the President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (Agra) said that offering food security is an important element in securing the future for the continents future.

“We all know that hunger is the result of political inaction. It took Rwanda only three years to reduce the percentage of people that were food insecure from 55 per cent to 21 per cent. The country has really worked hard in guaranteeing a secure economic future for its young people. Other African governments can copy this,” Dr Kalibata said.

Agra also vouched for the use of technology in promoting agricultural practice, a trend it says is being championed by Africa’s youth.

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