African Youth and Opportunity
A recent World Bank study has shown extraordinary growth in West Africa, especially Ghana which has seen its poverty rate cut in half from 52.6% in 1991 to 21.4% in 2012 and extreme poverty rate decline from 37.6% in 1991 to 9.6% in 2013. These rates of poverty are still high, but these poverty rates are nothing compared to the estimated 40% of people living in poverty throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
In Ghana particularly, about 48% of the youth age 15-24 are unemployed in the country, which as Dr.Ansu says of the African Center for Entrepreneurial Transformation, “when about
three-quarters of the youth are without jobs, you’re not safe. It’s a time bomb.”
Currently, agriculture is the main source of employment for the people of Ghana at 23% of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and a large employment base for the young people of Ghana with
jobs. Africa currently has the fastest growing labor force on the planet, but there exists a gap between the unemployed and employment opportunities.
In this world, the talent of individuals is something which is evenly distributed across continents and countries, what is not evenly distributed though is the access people have to new opportunities
Companies such as Andela are seeking to change this divide. Andela selects the top 1 percent of tech talent in Africa trains them and places them in engineering organizations. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, used his investment company to lead Andela's recent fundraising round which raised $24 million dollars.
iSpace's own initiative Code School focuses on teaching people of various skill levels programming skills. iSpace offers Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced classes in mobile and web application development with a similar goal of making people employable in the technology industry.
Africa has a market of 1.2 billion people; 1.2 billion people are constantly wanting new goods and services; 1.2 billion people are on the verge of a major economic upheaval. The environment is perfect for entrepreneurship in Africa, especially in the technological sector. We stand on the verge of major innovations in all industries to the rapid growth of technology.
As Moore’s Law states “the number of transistors on a microchip will double every 18 months” and with this growth the computing power increases and the cost for a particular piece of technology decreases, exponentially.
At the Business Transforming Africa Conference, Evelyn Fatou Tall identified “the lack of trained human capital” as the “missing key to inspire innovation for real growth”. The Mayor of Accra, Mohammed Adjei Sowah, further echoed Tall’s sentiments by stating that “innovation catalyzes growth and there cannot be any innovation if our people lack the required skills”.
Advanced technology continues to become available at a lower cost all over Ghana and Africa. This comes with more opportunities for employment, entrepreneurship, and economic growth. Already a large amount of people in Accra have access to a computers and smartphones. An extraordinary amount of potential for growth exists already.
If people have the right technical skills, they can develop application and websites which they can put online and publish their content to anyone with an internet access, which is almost 4 billion people.