Accelerating Freedom and Realistic ICT-led Change in Africa

Making ICTs Work for Africa’s Economic Emancipation through Youth Entrepreneurship

A popular Nigerian proverb says, “If a man is caught running, then he is either chasing something or something is chasing him.” I have often been tempted to ask some elders the question, “how about a man who is both chasing something and is also being chased by something else?” I have a feeling that such a man must fly, not run. That is what Africa must then do, in relation to development – because we are trying to catch up with better livelihoods and global benchmarks, and are at the same time being haunted by poverty and the many other ills that dot our continental landscape…. Events and realities of the last few years have clearly shown that Africa’s economic health is not dependent on the finite resources that have often led to chaotic situations, opened nations up to exploitation and lubricated corruption; but on a new kind of resource that can be groomed for appropriate accelerated growth – the youth.

Unfortunately, these young women and men are at the moment unprepared for the challenge of leading Africa out of her present situation…. Thus, the decision of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) to choose Youth and Leadership in the 21st Century as the theme of this fifth African Development Forum must be commended. This could not have come at a better time! We all know that one of the key benefits of effective leadership is economic growth, and that the engine that is driving economic growth in the 21st Century is Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs); hence the need to appreciate the importance and strategic relevance of discussing ICTs and Youth Entrepreneurship…. Beyond … calls for support, Africa’s youth must learn to move from activism to action, and realize that we are the architects of our own future – and that of the continent! … Imagine how powerful this future would be if today’s leaders invest heavily in the next generation. We can accelerate freedom and realistic ICT-led change in Africa, and we can make ICTs work for Africa’s economic emancipation, by promoting ICT-enabled Youth Entrepreneurship.

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