Many things have been said about the future of Africa and its potential, with it being called ‘the Opportunity Continent’, ‘the Next Frontier’ and ‘Africa Rising’. Ime Archibong, Vice President, Product Partnerships at Facebook, says the excitement comes with how Africa can, and will, one day lead in the digital economy.
Africa’s young population could be its greatest asset in an age where many other regions in the world are aging as a result of declining birth rates. As the world’s human population grows from 7.4 billion people to 8.2 billion people between now and 2025, 40% of that growth will come from Africa, and with more than 628 million people aged below 24, this young, dynamic and innovative population will become one of the most powerful engines of growth the world has ever seen.
Personally, I’ve always been so inspired by the creativity and talent across my home continent – whether it’s creating mobile phone apps which makes motorcycle taxis safer and more convenient, like in the case of Safe Motos in Rwanda and now DRC, or building technological solutions to solve agricultural challenges, like Plantheus, a recent graduate of Facebook’s NG_Hub Accelerator Program. We see people, especially the youth, building solutions daily to local problems and needs.
As eager and early adopters of technology, we’ll likely see the next wave of global digital innovations and apps coming from the continent and taken to the rest of the world.
Adoption of social media, mobile phones and mobile money are enabling Africa and its youth to leapfrog to the next wave of digital technology. This infrastructure is the foundation upon which so much innovation in Africa is built and will be built over the next five years.
Facebook, we’re committed to empowering young people to build their digital
skills and harness them for the future – whether they are digital builders,
developers or product innovators. In the month of UN Youth Day, I’m delighted
that we will be recognising just some of these talents from across the region.
Bringing together over 40 Facebook Community Leaders, SMBs, entrepreneurs, developers
and content creators from across Sub-Saharan Africa, under the banner of
‘Celebrating Icons of Change and the Future of the Continent’ – we are celebrating
the positive impact they are having in their community, something which is
important to us here at Facebook.
Our commitment across the region remains strong, and Africa continues to be important for us, with this building on many partnerships, programs and initiatives already in place to help develop digital and entrepreneurial skills among young people.
it’s training SMBs through digital boot camps, helping interested youth to
acquire digital marketing skills and placing them in employment, training women
in leveraging digital solutions to grow their business, or bringing together
52,000 developers from across 17 countries through our Developer Circles programme,
we are excited to play a part in supporting the next generation of start-up
founders, investors, developers and change makers.
As one of my favourite African proverbs says “For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today”, and we look forward to that tomorrow in the years to come.