Today, the economic and social prosperity of a society is, more than ever, determined by the level and quality of creativity and innovation happening within that society. You simply need to examine the dominant cultural paradigm of the society and the level of access its young people have to resources that mine their creative intellect, to know how prosperous that economy would be in the years ahead. And Africa is no exception.
Yet Africa remains largely rural with about 60% of its population living in semi-urban and rural communities. Many economic activities are lowly-productive with very little hope of making the technological or economic leap. Unfortunately, youths from these communities are also socially-excluded and lack access to the digital resources the big cities have.
Expectedly, there is huge pressure on the cities, where the infrastructure is very inadequate. This is leading to a new form of poverty. The problem today is not just a digital divide, but also widening inequality, increasing numbers of slums and the related human degradation. So as it is, there is an impending risk of these people being left out of the technological, digital revolution, and the constant innovation buzz across the globe. Africa is at risk of becoming once again The Dark Continent, a dumping ground for solutions we as Africans do not necessarily need to thrive and prosper.
Moreover, as we desperately strive to escape the age-long squalors and inequality that plague us, we continue to plunge into the immediacy syndrome, eroding our value system and development potentials. Yet a huge population of our young people, who should create a new future, are cut off from the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem.
How can Africa accelerate its development by enhancing the innovation know-how of her youths and creating a virile entrepreneurial ecosystem capable of churning solutions to our problems as Africans and into the global innovation hub?
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