The current population of Africa is 1.3 billion, projected to double to 2.5 billion by 2050 and continue to 4.5 billion by 2100. It is also the youngest continent, with 77% of the population below the age of 35. Yet, the continent has not fully reaped the economic benefits resulting from a significant increase in the ratio of working-age adults to dependents.
It is imperative to look to the challenges and limitations faced by the contemporary youth to address the question of how sustainable growth and development across the African continent, as well as competitiveness in the global market, can be promoted for the years to come. The catastrophic events of the COVID-19 global pandemic on African nations has especially marked the need to raise our youth with the tools to face sudden and severe situations to thrive in a digital economy.
COVID-19 has necessitated lifting some of the barriers that have held back the African e-commerce market. Demand for service in basic needs via e-commerce spiked among both customers and sellers across countries of the content, and this has been promising. But it also confirmed the persistence of tough, underdeveloped markets across the continent, largely due to underdevelopment of digital infrastructure and value-chains. Fulfilment of order for example has been a major challenge.
Objective of Session
By bringing together leading African policymakers, experts, and business leaders in these sectors, this session aims to explore the regulatory and policy options as well as investment priorities for the public and private sector that are needed to boost Africa’s preparedness for the digital economy, focusing on enabling the effective custodianship of Africa’s economy to its youth, so that the continent can fully benefit from its demographic dividend.
Jennifer Widner is Professor of Politics & International Affairs at Princeton University. She directs Innovations for Successful Societies, a research program that supports practitioners who aim to build more effective, more accountable government. Before joining the Princeton faculty in 2004-5, Professor Widner taught at Harvard and the University of Michigan. She is author of several books and monographs...
Dr. Vincent Ogutu self-identifies as a teacher, a role that he says starts with treasure-hunting (identifying powerful ideas that could transform people and the world) and concludes with sharing those ideas with his audiences. He is a TEDx (Barcelona) Fellow and uses TV and social media to inspire people to live a life of purpose and impact...
Rebecca Mqamelo is a student, writer and advocate for a reimagined global economy through sustainable currency design. She grew up in a small town in South Africa and challenges what it means to be a "global African", having lived in ten countries over the past three years while obtaining her degree in economics and data science....
Veda Sunassee has spent 9+ years in several roles with the African Leadership (AL) Group, first as an Entrepreneurial Leadership Faculty at the African Leadership Academy before later serving as the Founding Dean of the African Leadership University, Rwanda for 2 years. In his role, he built a team of 30+, grew the campus to 600 students. The African Leadership University was listed as the Most Innovative Company in Africa (34th globally) by FastCompany in 2019...
Jinmi is a Connectivity Program Manager at Facebook, connecting the next billion people to the Internet in the Middle East and Africa through Express Wi-Fi. Before joining Facebook, he delivered the groundbreaking $300m Main One submarine cable to Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon. A former National Deputy Coordinator for the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), Jinmi published Nigeria's first ever National Broadband Plan and continues strong advocacy for Policy and Regulatory support and action.
Brian Gitahi | Moderator
Brian Gitahi is a sophomore at Princeton University interested in urban planning, language and has a keen eye for art. Most recently, he worked on a project to assist a French startup customize its website to adapt to the COVID era.