Africa’s major asset is the youth

Africa’s major asset is the youth

Interview from Bitange Ndemo,a senior lecturer at the University of Nairobi School of Business, and the former Permanent Secretary of Kenya’s Ministry for Information and Communication.

What do you see as Africa’s major assets in the modern world, and how will it gain the full benefit of them?

Africa’s major asset is the youth. Many countries are spending a huge portion of their budgets on education. We have youth making up more than 70% of the population in a world where majority of countries have more old people than youth. This is a great opportunity but we must learn to exploit it just like China did. The more reason why we need to re-skill the youth and prepare them for a tomorrow where they will be required to produce for the world.

The theme of eLearning Africa is “Opening Frontiers to the Future”. How are you going to address this theme in your keynote speech?

ICTs have reduced the world into a small village where research from advanced countries is fusing with problems in the developing world and coming up with innovations. We have had no time like this in the history of the world. We must seize the opportunity and change the course of humanity for the better. Organisations like IBM have based research in Africa, where many problems reside, and come up with solutions that will change the future. IBM’s Watson supercomputer is likely to help sort out problems of food insecurity, disease and many more problems. But we must wake up to take the opportunity to the next level.

Kenya is at the forefront of ICT innovation in Africa, yet 43.4% of the population remains below the poverty line (CIA). How can ICT best be used to benefit the poorest?

ICTs are changing the grassroots landscape in most African countries, including Kenya. Rural innovations are creating jobs, enhancing efficiency, improving productivity and enabling greater financial inclusiveness. […]

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