To prepare Burundi’s youth for the future of work, it will take a combination of youth capacity building, availability of financial resources and partnership between governments and international financial organizations to tackle the challenge.
An education and employment hub that will train the youth and implement several projects to fill Africa digital markets is requisite. This will be the only way to inspire the youth to be involved in digital economy and future of work. An increasing progression of practical trainings followed by the implementation of projects in which a group of trainees will be interested in developing and that may be sponsored or able to generate incomes will increase the willingness of youth to enter the digital world, since they will see new employment opportunities.
We African youth, and Burundian youth in particular, need guidance and facilities. A lot of us have not had the chance to use or be familiar with digital items, and many others have faced digital barriers which have discouraged them from entering the digital world. The sector also remains unexploited due to the lack of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructures in Africa.
To solve these development challenges, one solution could be to implement centers where young people can be trained in different fields related to the digital economy, and which respond to their career interest and aspiration. The hub will train and coach youth to build platforms in their interested areas; the digital economy is wide and includes many fields that could be of interest, such as programming, automation and artificial intelligence. With multiple offerings, students may choose any to be trained in technically, followed by the implementation of potential projects that may lead to youth employability. This is important, because the only option to maintain youth involvement in trainings is to show them that there is interest and that it may likely improve their life.
Another area of training could include software programming and they could be coached to implement several projects related to e-business, such as e-commerce, e- marketing, e-banking, online information and communication, digital learning, web design, and related areas. A research center in robotics and artificial intelligence could be opened to promote the passion of science and technology in young people, and different programs including automation, cognitive science and computational linguistics will be implemented in to inspire their creative mind. The objective is to bring young people into becoming future leaders in these fields and interest them into pursuing further studies so that they will be qualified to fill Africa’s current skills shortage.
However, the implementation of these projects requires significant investments. ICT infrastructures are expensive, and it will require highly-skilled professionals in the aforementioned programs to train youth, which could only be provided through partnerships with financial institutions, development organizations and the government.
Guy Tresor Ntwari, a Burundian national, is a winner of the World Bank Africa 2019 Blog4Dev regional competition.