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Op Ed

How Africa’s Youths Contribute to the African Society

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How Africa’s Youths Contribute to the African Society

Africa has been called a lot of things – Dark Continent, the savage, the Continent of Safaris, the third world, the emerging market Continent, and more recently Sh**hole, but it is hardly called the Continent of Youths. It is not a secret that the youths are the future of the African continent. They are already emerging and will be the next thought leaders, creators, and innovators that will help galvanize the African continent to greater heights. According to the United Nations in 2015, Africa has 226 million youth aged 15-24 and one–fifth of the world’s Youth Population. This means that one out of every five youth on earth is from Africa. The African Youth population is forecasted to grow by 42% by 2030. There should be a new focus on the youth in Africa; we need to examine how much they contribute currently to the continent.

One area where youth are thriving well in Africa is in the tech sector. The sector has become an interesting source of Foreign Direct Investments and in 2019 accounted for close to half a billion-dollar raked into the continent. In 2020, – the Paystack/Stripes deal brought in over 200 million dollars. The growth of technology has created an opportunity for several African youths to come up with new innovations, which are even more helpful in the current fledging economic and social climate affected by the pandemic.

There are several examples of many African youths using technology to start new ventures. Mike Endale, an Ethiopian American based in Washington, D.C, who is the principal at BLEN Corp, an information technology firm that leads the Ethiopia COVID-19 Emergency Tech Volunteer Task Team and assists Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health. During the pandemic, they have recruited over 1,700 software engineers and have even created an Africa COVID-19 response toolkit.

Temie Giwa-Tubosun, the founder of LifeBank in Nigeria, is another African youth making strides in the tech scene. Since its establishment in 2016, it helps to deliver 22,830 units of blood, according to Next Billion, to hospitals in Nigeria, which help connect donors to blood banks. Next Billion also stated that LifeBank conducts drive through COVID-19 testing and supply oxygen to health centers.

The Lifebank recently expanded in East Africa. In December 20280, the US- Africa Business Center of the US Chamber in conjunction with the American Business Council Nigeria in recognition of the great impact of start-ups in the wake of the Pandemic, inaugurated a digital entrepreneurship competition.

African youths are also thriving in the entertainment sector, particularly in the music business.  The Afrobeats genre continues to rule the music world and the likes of Burna Boy, Davido, Mr. Eazi, and Omah Lay, who are still in their 20’s, spearhead and remain the face of the genre. The international recognition of Afrobeats has given artists more visibility on the global forefront. This was the case for Davido, Mr. Eazi, and Tiwa Savage, who were featured on the cover of the Billboard magazine.

Read Also: Labour Unions: Dangote Refinery Is Key To Nigeria’s Survival

Music remains of significant importance and the youths are a big factor in the success of the industry. In Nigeria, the music revenue grew from $26 million in 2014 to $34 million dollars in 2018, According to Statista. The music revenue in Nigeria is expected to increase to $44 million by 2023 as reported by Statista. Africa’s youth are also flying high in the area of sports, particularly in soccer. Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Ihenacho of Nigeria (both players at Leicester City in the English Premier League) come to mind.

Also, Percy Tau, a South African soccer player, who was with R.S.C Anderlecht in Belgium, will now be returning to his parent club, Brighton & Hove Albion in the premier league. Tau plays in a forward position and he is expected to make his debut for the seagulls (Brighton & Hove Albion) in the 2020-21 season of the premier league.

Lastly, youths in Africa have also been influential on the activism forefront, especially in the last couple of years. This was evident in October of 2020 when several Nigerian youths took to the streets to fight against police brutality in the End SARS protests. In Uganda, Musicians like Bobi Wine’s foray into Politics first as a parliamentarian and presidential candidate is attracting more youth to get into politics.

Read Also: AU Welcomes Nigeria Ahead Of AfCFTA Kick-Off

Other youths like Christelle Kwizera, founder of Water Access Rwanda, have been involved in helping communities with access to water. According to Global Citizen, Kwizera’s plan is to eradicate water scarcity and to provide clean water for people in local communities. Currently, her organization has supplied 70,000 people in Rwanda with clean water. Kwizera’s efforts earned her the Cisco Youth Leadership Award at the 2020 Global Citizen Prize.

African youths definitely have a lot to offer in several sectors and this would be vital to the growth of the continent. African governments need to understand this and invest meaningfully and in a sustainable way on the youth population to reduce the migration drain. The enthusiasm, the work rate, and efforts are why the current children of Africa have an opportunity to be wonderful leaders of tomorrow. With the right nurturing environment in place, Africa’s future is in safe hands.

Written by Paul Olele from the United States

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Op Ed

Joe Igbokwe: When It’s A Crime To Love Buhari, Nigeria And Igbo Land – by Femi Adesina

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There are millions of us round the country who follow Muhammadu Buhari passionately. Some got enlisted in 1984 when the man was military head of state. Others joined along the line as the principal was Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) in the Gen Sani Abacha years, or when he joined partisan politics in 2002, ran for President a year later, also in 2007, 2011, and 2015, when he eventually coasted to power.

Over the years, some of the Buharists (as we are called), have fallen off, and even joined the opposition. Yet some others have stood sturdy, steady, resolute, as constant as the Northern Star. Stand up and take a bow, Engineer Joe Igbokwe, the man from Nnewi, in Anambra State.

President Buhari is possibly the most credible politician we have seen in the country in contemporary times, with a magnetic pull that draws people to him in droves. That was the point I was making last week in this column, but which an illiterate journalist with an online medium twisted to say I claimed Buhari was better than Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Aminu Kano etal. He succeeded in his mission: generating hateful comments against me, but I leave him to God. For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God to answer for what we have done, including all forms of lie against a fellow man. Our profession, or political and ethnic affiliations would no longer matter then.

We were talking of Joe Igbokwe before the brief diversion. Yes, this man loves Buhari to bits. He loves Nigeria, and he loves his native Igbo land. And you know what? That is now a crime in our country. Igbokwe’s life has been severely and severally threatened, his family hounded, and on October 3 this year, his county home in Nnewi was set on fire.

Igbokwe is a nationalist. His education, primary, secondary and even university he had in the Southeast. But since he got posted for national service in Ogun State in 1985, he had remained in the Southwest, identifying with the people, their politics, their ways of life, while not repudiating his love for his roots in Nnewi, and the Southeast generally. No wonder he is popularly called Agbalanze, after that Onitsha cultural association.

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Op Ed

Rethinking 2023 in the light of Good Governance

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Good governance

2023 is by the corner and as expected, certain assumptions have arisen regarding the suitability of aspirants for the coveted seat of the Governor.

What many have failed to consider in the ensuing agitations for who succeeds the current Governor is that government is a vehicle through which democracy is delivered to the people. And so, those who desire public offices must have been tested and trusted to deliver democracy dividends to the people.

Moreover, given the tempo of infrastructural and economic developments established by the Governor Udom Emmanuel’s administration, only a leader with a foresight equal to that of the present administration will effectively fit into the shoes which will be left behind.

As such, the need to look critically before leaping becomes imperative.

Among the long line of contenders for the governorship race is Sen. Effiong Bob who has been in public affairs from time immemorial.

His credentials indicate an age-long experience in governance which beats that of every other aspirant, and his bevy of connections and intellectual intelligence makes him a top preferred choice for the office.

Sen. Bob is able and ready to serve conscientiously, and should be given the mandate to do so.

Source: Thebrigdenewsonline

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Business

Schools must lay the foundations to bridge Africa’s skills gap

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Dangote Refinery

As African businesses, including my own, seek to expand and boost prosperity across the continent, we face a hurdle that we and our governments must do more to overcome. The majority of those entering the workforce lack the skills required to meet the changing needs of the global economy.

Up to 20m increasingly well-educated young people are set to join Africa’s labour force every year for the coming three decades. As the World Economic Forum has argued, ensuring we have a strong ecosystem to offer quality jobs — and the skills to match — will be imperative if we are to fully leverage this demographic dividend.

By 2030, about a quarter of the world’s population under the age of 25 will be in or from Africa. So the economic prospects not only of Africa but of the world depend on the skills, capabilities and productivity of our youth.

Employers, including Dangote Group, need employees with a mix of strong cognitive and problem-solving capabilities, soft skills and 21st-century — often digital — skills. Yet there is a large gap in all three characteristics.

In a 2019 survey by PwC, 97 per cent of African chief executives said the lack of skills was affecting their organisations’ growth and profitability. We believe Africa will drive the future of the global economy, but if our youth do not have the skills, then how can they do so? This is one of the biggest problems facing African companies.

For Dangote, bridging the gap requires spending extra time, effort and financing on training and upskilling staff, building recruitment pipelines with investments in colleges and, in some cases, hiring from outside the continent. Such extra costs hinder the ability of the private sector and the economy to grow and diversify.

We have been providing vocational training for young Nigerians for a long time. We started the Dangote Academy in 2009 in our Obajana cement plant, where we train more than 2,000 technicians every year. More recently, in partnership with the German Association for Mechanical and Plant Engineering (VDMA) and its Foundation for Young Talent, we have launched a technical training programme in engineering. Many businesses are taking similar steps, investing millions of dollars a year.

But relying on companies and postsecondary training programmes to address the skills gap is not enough. The problems begin earlier in the education system, and investments must go beyond upskilling adults. Government must take a larger role. Quality education relies on an extensive, interlinked, robust infrastructure and ecosystem.

Across Africa, nine out of 10 children do not achieve basic reading and numeracy skills by the age of 10, which creates wide-ranging ripples. A third of students do not complete primary school, more than half do not finish lower secondary school and almost 90 per cent do not make it to higher education. Local conflicts and wider insecurity in parts of Africa, with the attendant mass displacement, further reduces access. The pandemic has closed schools and affected families’ abilities to pay for education. This no doubt has led to an increase in the number of children out of school, estimated at about 15m in Nigeria.

Skills acquired early in primary school form the foundation for later learning and are fundamental to a productive, capable workforce and a strong economy

A large proportion of job applicants not only lack basic qualifications but also struggle with simple computation and comprehension. This hinders their ability to take up jobs we are desperate to offer and impedes those already in employment. Skills acquired early in primary school form the foundation for later learning and are fundamental to a productive, capable workforce and a strong economy. Gaining digital skills, or more rudimentary technical and vocational qualifications, is harder without basic learning.

Governments and business together need to look to the future and set policies and plans to focus on foundational learning. Investing in these basic fundamental skills would allow African countries to enhance productivity, promote greater inclusion and build a workforce that can adapt to the markets of the future and drive prosperity for all.

Policymakers and business should provide retraining and upskilling to the existing workforce, and offer these in areas with vulnerable and disadvantaged populations. They should work together to ensure investments are made in high-quality and effective interventions.

Governments and the private sector must also increase their investments in key infrastructure with an eye on the effects on education, from power to communication, water supply and housing, research and social amenities, and not discriminate by gender or disability. The private sector must give governments clear indicators of future work needs so schools can adapt. There must be increased focus on and investment in foundational literacy and numeracy so students can acquire the skills fundamental to employability.

Together, the public and private sectors have a strong responsibility to accelerate progress. They must work in partnership, make fixing the education crisis a top priority and commit to acting fast. Failure to do so risks perpetuating low productivity, instability in the workforce and poor socio-economic outcomes. Successful actions will mean greater prosperity for future generations, and are the only path to ensure a vibrant, prosperous, productive Africa.

Source: FT

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