Future of youth front and centre in Kigali at 2019 YouthConnekt

How can we empower more of our youth and put them on a firmer path to opportunity? That was the question on the table this month at the 2019 Youth Connekt Summit, held in Kigali, Rwanda.  This annual convening connects youth from across Africa and beyond to engage, design, and accelerate youth empowerment efforts at the continent level.

The future of Africa’s youth has become an increasingly important topic in the past years. Africa is the youngest continent in the world, with an average age of 20 years, and it is estimated that by 2030 youths in Africa will have increased by 42%. Additionally, 10 – 12 million African youths enter the workforce each year, but only 3.1 million jobs are created.

Equipped with education, skills and jobs, youth will be important drivers of economic growth, and this year’s Youth Connekt summit shared various perspectives on how our youth can best position themselves for the future.

The summit opened at the Kigali Arena on Oct 9, featuring speakers including renowned entrepreneurs, globally acclaimed athletes and youth mentors.

In addition to H.E President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, who delivered the opening keynote address, other speakers included Ashish Takkar, CEO of Mara Group, the first company to ever manufacture a smartphone in Africa; Ivorian Didier Drogba, a former striker at the English Premier League; and our very own Higherlife Foundation Board Members – Elizabeth Tanya Masiyiwa and Natalie Jabangwe.

Check out a few highlights and inspiring quotes from the conference:

 “Nothing can be done for the youths without the youths”- First Lady of Rwanda Jeannette Kagame

“The world has never been given better access to information than in this age. The world has never been more connected. Today we have a lot of leverage through tech. We have come so far it is up to women to decide on what to do with the technology in their hands.”- Natalie Jabangwe

“We have to innovate for Africa by Africans. We need to trust made in Africa. We need to innovate. Africa proved that with mobile banking we can do it. We can offer more than mobile banking”Elizabeth Tanya Masiyiwa

“Until you the young people are making an effort to tap into what is available for you to grow yourselves. Opportunity does not go to peoples doors knocking on their doors. People need to go knocking on opportunity doors. ” -President Paul Kagame

“Mentality of entitlement among the youth should be done away with.”- Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa

Through Youth Connekt, African youth empowerment ecosystems are being strengthened and we look forward to the next summit.