On 26 January, Foundation board member Donald Kaberuka was joined by members of our Now Generation Network (NGN) for the first ‘In Conversation with …’ webinar of 2022.
These popular discussions connect young Africans with the Foundation’s leadership around the issues that matter most to the continent’s youth. On Wednesday, Donald and the NGN discussed the Africa’s economic prospects in 2022 and the role that young Africans want to play in the continent’s recovery from COVID-19.
Having set the scene with a summary of Africa’s recent economic progress and the challenges created by COVID-19, Donald outlined four priorities for African nations: achieving inclusive economic recovery; preparing for future pandemics; securing energy justice; and boosting intra-continental trade.
The NGN members stressed that the continent’s economic recovery must have young people at its core, not least as they are already leading the charge in sectors such as tech, which have the potential to transform the continent.
I do think that young people need to be at the forefront. A lot of policymakers still don’t understand how to work with young people. How do we ensure that young people are taking the lead in some of these things? They are already doing that, even without government support.
~Emmanuel Adegboye, Now Generation Network member
Another concern expressed by the group was around travel and working in the continent, which they say isn’t easy for young Africans. They urge that for there to be greater regional integration, it is important to create conducive environments where young Africans can thrive across borders. Currently this appears impossible because of prohibitive costs and restrictive policies.
What we’ve seen over the past year is that the African tech start-up ecosystem has grown tremendously. Last year we had a record of over 100 million investments in African start-ups. When we talk about the talent of young people on the African continent, there is no better representation as these start-ups are mostly led by Africans.
~Aïda Ndiaye, Now Generation Network member
Over 600 million Africans are off-grid across the continent. This lack of access to power is stifling the continent’s economic growth. The NGN members highlighted that there is opportunity to transform Africa’s energy sector and create jobs.
We need to talk about bringing African investors and partners together to accelerate Africa’s energy transformation, in particular clean energy. This requires member states and the private sector to work together on new and innovative ways to address policy and regulatory issues…
~Taimi Itembu, Now Generation Network member
The conversation concluded with a rallying call from the NGN for inclusivity to be at the core of the continent’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The group affirmed that young people have a critical role to play in the continent’s development.
One of the things I've taken away from this conversation is really the need of taking responsibility for us as young people, and knowing that we have a role to play.
~Fabrice Muchiga, Now Generation Network member
To coincide with the webinar, a poll (2,560 respondents) conducted by the Foundation revealed that 51% of young Africans are not optimistic about their country’s economic prospects in 2022 (38% yes; 11% not sure). 84% said that their governments are not doing enough to create employment opportunities for young Africans (5% yes; 11% not sure).
Donald Kaberuka was joined by:
- Emmanuel Adegboye (Nigeria)
- Anne Nyambane (Kenya)
- Taimi Itembu (Namibia)
- Fabrice Muchiga (DRC)
- Aïda Ndiaye (Senegal)
- Manji Wilson (Nigeria)
Watch the conversation: