The way schooling is mostly framed in Africa attracts people to employment especially conforming in few fields such as medicine, law, engineering, and accounting. There is little or no emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship. Noteworthy, these social dynamics have little to nothing to do with capital. With a mind that is taught only to obey the teacher, read books for regurgitation, pass examinations, graduate and look for employment subsequently (and call that a life’s success), Africa is just but a continent full of people whom a very few will make a cognitive difference and strike positive changes to our economies and countries for the better.
Throughout the world, the nature of work is continuously evolving. Like many people in the past feared that machines are coming to take our jobs, many people in today’s world have this fear.
The fact that digital is the new way of life is no longer rocket science for anyone living in this new era. We are swamped with new technologies which have contributed to the birth and growth of this era that is also known as the “Internet” economy.
The world is in a constant state of evolution. The many changes and transformations are so far-reaching that, up until very recently, they would have been unimaginable. The human spirit, like a genie released from a bottle, is moving from conquest to fresh conquest, from one innovation to the next. In the midst of this shifting sea of change, three key attributes continue to stand out as fundamental for the young people of Africa: energy, passion, and imagination. These are all qualities that we have in abundance.
A lot of benefits will result from the digital economy if African youth are equipped with the digital skills they need. We can therefore enhance these digital skills to young people in the following ways:
Encourage the culture of study internships
It is a rare culture for young Tanzanians to seek for internships unless required by their learning institutions. By encouraging the culture of seeking internships intentionally, it will add up as an advantage for youth to gain digital skills that otherwise wouldn’t be obtained. Through the culture of internships, students will also have a reflective time to redefine their career path and experience the work dynamics and define their own future works.
This digital age is not a temporary phenomenon or a trend that will vanish in a matter of time. It is the platform that brings the role players of the economic system together, creating what is known as the digital economy.
A digital economy is an economy based on digital technologies. This is an economy based on an internet (New Economy) with main components of e-business infrastructure which includes hardware, software, telecoms, networks, and human capital; e-business which includes the process of conducting business using the computer-mediated networks; and r-commerce which involves a transfer of goods from a place to another online. By 2050, the African population is estimated to be at 1.3 billion people; of which 15 – 20 million will constitute well-educated youth. The youth will be either employed, underemployed or unemployed. The continent will face a challenge of creating jobs to such young African or else, the continent will remain at the threat of political instability in the coming years. In order to enhance the skills needed to prepare the youth for the digital economy and future, the following need to be undertaken.
As our continent advances in the fields of technology, manufacturing, computer software and information, our economies become more digitized. Economic activities such as trade, financial systems, data and processes become more based in the digital economy. This transformation brings new opportunities to the continent, and we will need certain skills that will best optimize them. The youth of Africa needs be at the forefront of this because our generation will be one of the first to have most of its economic activities in the digital economy.
The digital economy is a new concept in Somaliland (north Somalia) and the Somali regions. However, we can still find good examples that catch our attention; like zaad mobile money services in Somaliland, the e-commerce business Ari Farm in Somali, and many more e-commerce businesses by local nationals. Local and international non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) have also given great consideration to funding e-commerce business ideas by youth in general and information technology (IT) graduates in particular, e.g., Innovate Ventures in Somaliland. Nevertheless, many of our youth are still missing the skills needed to generate enough economy from the rapidly growing digital world. My blog will mainly discuss online freelancing as a source of digital economy, challenges, solutions and an insight into the future of work in Somaliland.
With the increasing technological advancements, there is no doubt that many jobs would be taken by machines in the future. In fact, this has manifested itself already as we have seen computers doing jobs that were once performed by people.