Digital economy refers to an economy that runs entirely on digital computing technologies. To be prepared for the digital economy, youth should understand their strengths, skills, and talents. At the same time, the involvement of various stakeholders in training youth—both in and out of school) with job-ready, transferable digital skills is needed. , Civil space, public space, physical space, and digital space can be implemented to develop young people’s digital skills and curb youth unemployment in the digital economy.
Urgent actions include:
- Digital economy campaigns (creation of civic space)
Campaigns at relevant conferences and social media, to incorporate youth are required. This will surely create a platform for stakeholders, such as the government, to digitally train both in school and out-of-school youth and digital entrepreneurs for future work. Also, more platforms for digital employment will be created and more labor market information systems shall be generated massively for the same.
In general, civil space will generate better policy guidelines, improved quality of basic education and improved higher skills demanded in the digital economy due to information accessibility.
- Young digital entrepreneur’s advocacy (Digital Space)
Governments in Africa should enhance basic digital entrepreneurial training for the youth. Advanced programs such as tax education, local business internship and start-up loans for digital entrepreneurs should be introduced. Business loans in Kenya should be made easier for accessibility among the digital entrepreneurs.
- Physical space creation
A physical space will allow youth to be trained in teamwork spirit, communication, creativity, and innovative spirit to prepare them for the digital economy. Due to globalization, life skills are important because the digital economy can only thrive in a more cooperative society.
- Policy formulations (Public Space)
Formulation and implementation of the best labor market information system and job for youth programs should be done either directly by the people or their parliamentary representatives. The causes for youth unemployment and how to become fit for employment in the digital economy should be well outlined. In addition, policies that advocate for wage subsidiary programs should be created to ensure employees to hire and train youths on areas that are likely to link with digital economy provisions. This plan will easily teach low-educated Kenyans and Africans how to develop their digital skills, hence being productive in the digital economy.
Finally, policies could be formulated to ensure a comprehensive curriculum that incorporates public, private and small medium enterprises to work together and to formalize the informal sector for the success of youth contribution towards a sustained digital economy.
In conclusion, several interventions, policies, training, and advocacy are highly recommended in Africa to see the unemployed youths to tap and benefit from the digital economy. Also, the youth are advised to continue being creative and hence benefit from the digital economy.
Jackton Oduor Badia, a Kenyan national, is a winner of the World Bank Africa 2019 Blog4Dev regional competition.