Facebook has restated its commitment to help young people of Africa in harnessing their digital and creative skills for the future of the continent through its support and investment in various communities, including startups, developers, agencies, among others.
Facebook's Vice President, Product Partnerships, Ime Archibong, made the pledge during this year's International Youth Day celebration.
"At Facebook, we are committed to empowering young people to build their digital skills and harness them for the future - whether they are digital builders, developers or product innovators. In the month of UN Youth Day, I'm delighted that we will be recognising just some of these talents from across the region. Bringing together over 40 Facebook Community Leaders, Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs), Entrepreneurs, Developers and Content Creators from across sub-Saharan Africa, under the banner of 'Celebrating Icons of Change and the Future of the Continent' - celebrating the positive impact they are having in their community, something which is important to us here at Facebook," he said.
He said Facebook's commitment across the region remained strong, as Africa's importance to the social network continues to grow yearly, with this leading to many partnerships, programs and initiatives already in place to help develop digital and entrepreneurial skills among young people.
"Whether it is training SMBs through digital boot camps, helping interested youth to acquire digital marketing skills and placing them in employment, training women in leveraging digital solutions to grow their business, or bringing together 52,000 Developers from across 17 countries through our Developer Circles program, we are excited to play a part in supporting the next generation of start-up founders, investors, developers and change makers," Archibong adds.
He noted that Africa has come to be regarded as the 'Opportunity Continent' because of its potential, stating that young people in the continent will one day lead in the digital economy, not only creating a better future for its young people, but for people across the entire continents, whether here in Africa or elsewhere like in Europe or the US.
According to Archibong, Africa's young population could be its greatest asset in an age where many other regions in the world are aging as a result of declining birth rates. Citing available data, Archibong noted that as the world's human population grows from 7.4 billion people to 8.2 billion people between now and 2025, 40 per cent of that growth will come from Africa, and with more than 628 million people aged below 24, this young, dynamic and innovative population will become one of the most powerful engines of growth the world has ever seen.
"Personally, I have always been so inspired by the creativity and talent across my home continent; whether it's creating mobile phone apps which makes motorcycle taxis safer and more convenient, like in the case of Safe Motos in Rwanda and now DRC, or building technological solutions to solve agricultural challenges, like Plantheus, a recent graduate of Facebook's NG_Hub Accelerator Programme, we see people, especially youth, building solutions daily to local problems and needs.
"As eager and early adopters of technology, we will likely see the next wave of global digital innovations and apps coming from the continent and taken to the rest of the world," he said.
He also posits that with the adoption of social media, mobile phones and mobile money are enabling Africa and its youth to leapfrog to the next wave of digital technology. This infrastructure is the foundation upon which so much innovation in Africa is built and will be built over the next five years.