Preparing Africa’s youth for a digital future: Teaching responsible leadership

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By addressing the proposed topic, the World Bank reinforces the African Union’s Agenda2063, which sets out to attain the kind of Africa we want. African youth will be at the forefront of achieving the aspirations of African people.

In this regard, young Africans need to vigorously strive to assume leadership, or take an active role in the digital economy and the future of work. That will be possible only if we develop a profile of the skills that will be determinant for the professionals or entrepreneurs of the digital area. These include: development of a personal character that inspires confidence and adoption of a strategic vision that envisions the future creatively, recognizes the need for flexibility in the face of change and in solving complex problems, and maintains a positive attitude.

For these skills to be developed, I propose the establishment of open-enrollment academies that teach responsible leadership throughout the region and institutions, supported by governments or international organizations. This academy, which I call the Open Academy of Responsible Leadership, would be an ideal and real space for the development of complex skills to improve the profile of the entrepreneur and human capital in the Digital Era.

Africa traditions and great leaders in the past, such as the Bantu people, successfully solved complex problems with values and principles that I call responsible leadership.With these approaches, we can identify and develop behavioral skills through the values and principles of responsible leadership to improve the competencies necessary to enable African youth to become a more sustainable asset for the continent.

To accomplish this goal, specific objectives include: 

  • Introducing mentoring sessions, workshops, lectures and opportunities to observe the exercise of responsible leadership on the issue of personal development in the organizational context. These would be held at vocational training centers and as part of career training in rural communities, to spark creativity and stimulate the strategic vision of youth in an environment where young people often do not know what they intend to do in the near or distant future.
  • Launch training sessions in all countries of the region, using networks of volunteers selected and trained for the purpose to reach young people who are outside the sphere of formal education with innovative initiatives that add value.
  • Create a digital platform to use in improving the skills and developing the competencies required in the context of the digital era.

It is obvious that the achievement of success by African youth must involve the kind of preparation that is not restricted to development of technical skills, but also fosters behavioral aptitudes that schools and universities don’t teach. We must think in terms of complementary systems that would add more value to African youth.

This is my commitment as civic leader, legal services intern, former president of the Student Association of the Catholic University of Angola, co-founder of the first business incubator in the university community in Angola and as a member of the First Consultative Council of Alumni of the Southern Africa YALI. A result of this is the writing I have done on responsible leadership.  I believe that the technological options, innovations and creations of the current century must be associated with ethical issues, thereby guiding humanity toward sustainable success and achievement by individuals and organizations.

My proposed solution can increase awareness among African youth about the future and encourage them to assume a special position in the digital economy and the future of work in Africa and the world at large by becoming active, competitive, and productive.

Henriques Francisco Ngolome, an Angolan national, is a winner of the World Bank Africa 2019 Blog4Dev regional competition.

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