East African Governments should focus on innovation

Posted on May 7, 2013 03:22 pm

The information technology has long been touted as one that can empower youthful population and the real benefits achieved when futuristic innovations are developed hence increasing employment rates. A study released recently showed that most young people in East Africa face employment shortfall as their capabilities are incompatible with the demands of the job market and opportunities available across the five member states of East African Community. Ministry of Labor in Uganda last week during the May day celebrations released data showing that over 8 million youths in the country lacked proper jobs and the crux of the opportunity divide that stems from missing skills, lack of experience and connections to employment. The member states of East Africa have failed to come up with initiatives designed to tackle the opportunity gap that continues to grow. There are currently more than 80 million East Africans aged under 30 and that demographic is expected to grow in coming decade.

I strongly believe that proper programs should be tailored to empower youths through expansion of digital inclusion and fostering future East African innovators by giving the youths the inspiration and necessary tools and also boosting employability and entrepreneurship that is chronically missing in the region. Governments should work with NGOs as well as the business sector to promote youths to access education and provide technology for youths in rural and urban areas equally. According to the study only about 20% of young people who are educated are able to find jobs in East Africa, while the remaining 80% are self-employed or jobless. According to an East African business expert, there has been a total failure of the member states education system and only a change in the region’s education institutes can save the situation from deteriorating. Creating opportunities and encouraging ICT usage in order to eliminate poverty in rural areas is one way of encouraging innovation. Such facilities, need to be managed by trained youths and community members in the area and this will spur economic and innovation development in the region.

Contador Harrison