Many african governments still lack accountability for their recourses and must be answerable to their youth for failing to empower them to get countries out of poverty.
This was a major point of discussion at the 2018 Youth Connekt Summit, which kicked off in Kigali last week, attracting thousands of young entrepreneurs and scholars across the continent.
Speaking on a panel alongside Rwanda’s Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente, Zimbabwean youth entrepreneur Nicola Grace Hove said that young people should demand for more accountability from their politicians.
Ms Hove is a young entrepreneur and chief executive of a gold mining company based in Zimbabwe.
“They say that Africa has so many minerals, how come we have nothing to show for it? We have such vast mineral endowment; we have all the tin, coltan and cobalt, yet all the gadgets that need these minerals are coming from other continents,” Ms Hove said.
“We must change. Africa’s greatest resource is the youth. We the young people are what we need for this continent to become better,” she added.
Rwanda’s Prime Minister Ngirente said that the youth of Africa are beginning to appreciate the value of technical and vocational training, which encourage entrepreneurship, as a way of overcoming high levels of unemployment across the continent.
“We are trying to motivate young people to do technical and vocational trainings; these are courses that are market-oriented. We have started seeing young graduates this year who don’t want to go to traditional universities but to technical and vocational schools. It is their choice, we are not forcing them,” he said.
“We want to create jobs, but not any jobs. Youth employability is important for us. We want productive jobs. The youth have seen the importance of this and they are now the ones into innovation through IT systems, making small factories, wines, spare parts for vehicles. This is being done by young people below 30 years.”
Last year’s Youth Connekt Summit was also hosted in Kigali, where China’s richest man, Jack Ma — the founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group — announced a fund of $10 million for four projects that support young African entrepreneurs.
This year’s summit attracted over 3,000 delegates under the theme Connecting Youth for Continental Transformation.