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Africa’s future lies in our youth

Africa’s future lies in our youth

We need to equip our youth with the skills they need for tomorrow, says MTN Group

Digital transformation lies at the core of building economies and driving innovation, economic inclusion, and sustainable growth. Digitalisation has been taking place across the African continent at a relatively rapid pace – a pace that continues to speed up as governments and the private sector recognise the need to build a digital workforce that not only embraces technology but also has the right skills to use those technologies to continuously innovate.

“At MTN Group we recognise the importance of digital inclusion to transform economies and lives,” says Nompilo Mofaro, Group Chief Sustainability and Corporate Affairs Officer at MTN. "Ambition 2025 articulates MTN’s vision for a more integrated and prosperous Africa, where everyone benefits from more modern and connected life. Our multipronged platform strategy aims to create solutions that address opportunities and tackle the challenges that currently face the continent." This vision is aligned with the African Union's Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa (2020 - 2030) and will contribute to achieving its Agenda 2063.

MTN Group has observed several concerning trends that could stand in the way of realising the African Union’s vision. “According to the latest International Labour Organization report, there has been an increase in the number of young people who are currently not in employment, education or training (NEET),” she says. “What is even more alarming is the observation that young women are more than twice as likely to be affected as young men. It is therefore critical that as a continent we prioritise building the right skills to enable young people to become active participants in the economy.”

Mofaro adds that stakeholders across the public and private sectors must work together to overcome this challenge. “It is imperative that all parties work together to create an inclusive environment where young people have access to the right types of skills to prepare them for a digital future. This includes guidance on the careers of the future, what skills are required and then equipping them with the actual skills needed to enable them to be economically active.”

Africa has the fastest-growing youth population in the world, with 60% of the population under the age of 25, yet youth unemployment remains at unprecedented levels on the continent. “The time is now for us to intervene and equip young people with the guidance and skills they need to carve out a future for themselves in the new digital world,” she concludes. “It is only by building the required skills among our youth population that we can truly harness the potential of our continent to take our rightful place on the world stage.