Batswana youth leveraging on Africa’s demographic dividend

Nicholas Mokwena - BG reporter
Friday, 04 October 2019
Head of Research at Youth Alive Foundation, Yandile Nuku Head of Research at Youth Alive Foundation, Yandile Nuku

Convo Lounge Mentorship programme exists to enhance the quality and relevance of students to industry challenges and opportunities. Head of Research at Youth Alive Foundation Yandile Nuku said this will be done by serving as a frequent engagement channel between both stakeholders.

‘Convo’ is short for conversation or a discussion between individuals that facilitates the sharing of experiences, insights, values, resources, ideas and efforts between industry experts and students in order to provide solutions and opportunities for employment and deployment of students who add value and impact to industry.“African Youth have unprecedented opportunities. The first opportunity is that Africa is establishing its identity and consolidating its socio-economic power through the inter-continental Africa trade agreement which will see Africa becoming the largest trade market in the world.

“The question is will Botswana graduates be able to leverage on this opportunity with their set of skills, interests, talents and efforts complimented by their knowledge? Mentorship is key in this regard,” she said when addressing members of the media in Gaborone. She said the second opportunity is that of accelerated growth by African youth in terms of skills and project value due to the digital economy which provides access to information carrying opportunities and unlimited global resources to seize those opportunities.
This will of course require digital skills and presence as well as self confidence on the part of the students in order for them to seize the opportunities of the digital economy, Nuku stated.

“The third opportunity is that of the Demographic dividend in Africa. By 2050 Africa will have the youngest and largest workforce between the ages of 15 and 25. What this means is that the energy and mindset of Africa youth will become an Asset. “The Demographic dividend will give Africa a huge return on investment provided we focus and guide the energy of students towards conceptualising and commercialising their ideas that lead to positive impact and wealth creation,” explained Nuku.

According to Nuku, Botswana youth can take charge and be at the forefront of all the mentioned opportunities as a result of having universal access to education. To further unlock this comparative advantage, we now need universal access to mentorship for students to understand and seize the opportunity before them, she said. She added that although mentorship is the key, it has a few barriers such as the inability of students to approach industry experts.

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