Bill Gates Tasks African Leaders on Youth Engagement

Bill Gates delivering 14th Annual Mandela Lecture
The philanthropist and entrepreneur, Bill Gates, has called on African leaders and governments to tap into the innovative and economic potentials of its youth population.
Gates said this while delivering the 14th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture at the University of Pretoria, South Africa on Sunday.
He noted that the economic potentials of the continent lies in the hands of its youths, which , he said formed the largest demographic population on the continent.
The co-founder of software giant, Microsoft, who described the Africa youth as “ the source of special dynamism” stated that health, education and economic issues must be tackled to ensure that Africa’s youth reach their global potentials.
Gates said, “Economists talk about the demographic dividend. When you have more people of working age, and fewer dependents for them to take care of, you can generate phenomenal economic growth. Rapid economic growth in East Asia in the 1970s and 1980s was partly driven by the large number of young people moving into their work force.
“But for me, the most important thing about young people is the way their minds work. Young people are better than old people at driving innovation, because they are not locked in by the limits of the past. The real returns will come, if we can multiply this talent for innovation by the whole of Africa’s growing youth population,”
He, however, noted that good governance was vital to youth empowerment and urged governments to play their part.
“All of these things – advances in health, in education, in agricultural productivity, in energy – won’t happen on their own. They can only happen in the context of governments that function well enough to enable them.
“But if we invest in the right things – if we make sure the basic needs of Africa’s young people are taken care of – then they will have the physical, cognitive, and emotional resources they need to change the future. Life on this continent will improve faster than it ever has. And the inequities that have kept people apart will be erased by broad-based progress that is the very meaning of the words: “living together.” Gates stated.
his lecture, titled, ‘Living Together’, Gates commended the late South African President and founder of the Nelson Mandela Foundation for raising awareness on topical issues affecting South Africa, Africa and the rest of the world.
Gates said he had admired Mandela, whom he had met on many occasions for his youth empowerment and engagement initiatives across the continent.
“ One topic that Nelson Mandela came back to over and over again was the power of youth”. He knew what he was talking about, because he started his career as a member of the African National Congress Youth League when he was still in his twenties. Later on, he understood that highlighting the oppression of young people was a powerful way to explain why things must change.
“There is a universal appeal to the conviction that youth deserve a chance. I agree with Mandela about young people, and that is one reason I am optimistic about the future of this continent. But to exploit Africa’s potential, its young people needed to be given every opportunity to thrive”. Gates said.
Bill Gates Tasks African Leaders on Youth Engagement Bill Gates Tasks African Leaders on Youth Engagement Reviewed by E.A Olatoye on July 18, 2016 Rating: 5

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