By Benoit Denis
Africa is the world’s most youthful continent. According to UN World Population Prospects, about 60% of the population of Africa is less than 25 years old, compared to 25% in Europe.
The rapidly increasing youth population, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, represents a major opportunity for the African continent and the world. To reap the economic benefits of this demographic dividend, while maintaining social cohesion, we need to digitalize Africa now.
Digitalisation is the great leveller of opportunities. In a digital society, access to entrepreneurship is democratic. A smart mind in Africa, like a smart mind in Silicon Valley, only needs a computer and an internet connection to turn a good idea into a successful start-up. We should therefore be investing in education to make digital skills available, in digital infrastructure and digital services serving entrepreneurs, and making financing available for these start-ups to get off the ground, and scale up – a major concern for a continent this size.
Culture of entrepreneurship in Africa
The culture of entrepreneurship is perhaps stronger in Africa than anywhere else in the world. Of Africa’s working-age population 22% are starting new businesses, the highest rate of any region in the world, according to the African Development Bank Group. Harsh conditions have raised generations of risk-takers who pursue self-sustainability.
And the ambition of young Africans is growing. Increasingly, more want to become entrepreneurs and use their creativity to improve life around them.