African governments have been challenged to give the youth opportunities for development.
Dr Donald Kabureka, former president Africa Development Bank said that African leaders should ensure the youth have equal access to opportunities.
"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 at the ongoing Kusi Ideas Festival in Kigali, Rwanda, on Sunday.
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 there is a challenge in creating opportunities for the youth.
“There is an opportunity in creating digital jobs. As it is, you cannot have a strong company in a weak society. Private companies have a responsibility to support government’s efforts in creating these opportunities,” Ms Mulinge said.
Ms Bintu Zahara Sakor, Africa & Norwegian researcher and data analyst, Peace Research Institute Oslo challenged African leaders and opinion shapers to put aside ethnic division and work together to safe guard young people’s economic future.
“African states need to work more closely to get a united outfit. We can only achieve this through educating the youth,” Ms Zakor said.
Dr Carlos Lopez, Honorary professor at Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, University of Cape Town argued that with the right policies the future of the youth would be secured.
“Africans are living longer and fertility is going down, 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 said that food security is an important element in securing the continent’s 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 worked hard in guaranteeing its people’s secure economic future. 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.
“Technology is a major player in agriculture. Clarity in messaging is important. African governments should not do what private the sector should but offer necessary support to the latter,” Dr. Kalibata said.