By: Edouard Docteur.
Pubslished on: Business Daily.
Africa is home to a budding, young population living in the age of technology and globalisation. No longer are they competing for opportunities just with their compatriots at home, but they are part of a global marketplace where opportunities keep emerging. The rate at which globalisation is occurring calls for equipping the next generation with the skills and capabilities to compete on a grander stage.
By 2035, sub-Saharan Africa will have a larger working population than the entire rest of the world combined, in contrast to other workforces in the world that are ageing. That owes to the fact that 19 percent of the global population of 15-24-year-olds is African, according to the UN World Population Prospects.
It is, therefore, imperative that Africa is part of the conversation when it comes to providing young people with the skills required.
As recently as 2019, as per data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Africa was home to
the five fastest growing economies in the world – Ghana (8.79%), South Sudan (8.78%), Rwanda (7.8%), Ethiopia (7.7%) and Cote d’Ivoire (7.4%). Those statistics paint a promising picture for the continent,
and shows that there is immense potential for growth if the continent is empowered and the
young population are given the skills.
Further to that, Africa’s participation in the creation of new solutions and technologies that move the world forward in development has equal potential for growth. We have witnessed the kind of contribution that Africa can have in the development of revolutionary solutions and technologies, with the development and adoption of mobile money systems as a primary mode of money transfer.
Mobile money came about through the need for a system to provide the unbanked access to financial services that are usually inaccessible to them through the existing financial institutions, due to restrictions in infrastructure, mobility, locations, documentations and cost. The system has been a huge
success when it comes to promoting financial inclusion, with some African markets having over 85 to 90 percent adoption of the system.
That is but one example of what can be achieved when solutions emerged from within the communities facing the challenges, and to sustain this process the young population in Africa requires the necessary
support and skills.
In addition to that, today’s world is dominated by the collection and analysis of data. Huge quantities of data are collected and there is a consistent need for an efficient system to analyse it. For the advancement of the digitisation of African countries in general, these skills in data analysis must also be imparted to enable data-driven decision making and sustainable development going forward.
Global Voice Group (GVG) has a partnership with the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) which seeks to support national statistical data offices in Africa with the ability to analyse data.
Since the collaboration kicked off, GVG has worked with Statistics Botswana to support them through a skills transfer on Business Process Mapping using data from Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).
These skills can be imparted upon the youth to support their governments in making sense of
the data that is collected on the different segments of the economy. Furthermore, this will enable them to take advantage of the technology available, while giving them the platform to develop technological solutions of their own and the space to implement them.
If these efforts are made collaboratively, the strength of the programmes will be boosted and ease their replication in multiple African markets, in addition to the refinement of the systems to better suit the needs of the various countries.
The development journey is picking up steam, especially after the slowdown in economic growth in 2020, as economies open back up. But we must remember the lessons we have learnt about the role technology has in development, and at the same time consider the importance of making sure that the African youth are imparted with the knowledge and capabilities that will assist them in driving the growth of the continent.