Tapping youth innovativeness through education, entrepreneurship and financial inclusion for accelerated development in Africa

Discourse on the development context in Africa has gradually shifted to focus on youth as central to escalating prosperity and delivering sustainable socio-economic transformation and development on the continent. Investing in youth in Africa is critical and offers a bestbet option as the demographic bulge is more visible now than ever before. Harnessing benefits from the demographic bulge in Africa is dependent on how Africa makes strategic investments that will increase the throughput quality of youth coming out of secondary, university and tertiary education as well as those who drop-out of school and/or with barely any education. Enhancing youth innovativeness, youth mentorship, supporting youth entrepreneurship and greater financial inclusion are critical pre-conditions for increasing the contribution potential of African youth to the development process in the continent. However, delivering on those preconditions requires that universities, governments and other development actors are willing to undertake radical yet strategic and focused actions as well as a paradigm shift to have a positive appreciation of the immense potential youth confer. Universities for example need to implement transformative and innovative processes and programmes that can spur youth potential and increase youth connectivity with the private sector. At the same time, development actors including philanthropists that provide financing ought to focus on investing on youth using innovative and context appropriate models and opportunities that seek to eliminate bottlenecks preventing youth from achieving their full potential. All these efforts and actions need to be coordinated at local, national and regional level and as such, platforms that bring all the development actors focused on youth in development become critical particularly in helping to ameliorate duplication of actions so as to achieve value for money investment. Available evidence suggests investing in youth offers commendable economic and social returns to society as whole and to individuals and their families. This paper discusses the issue of youth employability and present some case examples of initiatives to enhance youth employability and entrepreneurship.
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Region Focus: 
Africa Wide
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Open Access
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The MasterCard Foundation
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