Imagine you’re a student who has just received an email containing your lecture notes from school. And in order to use a computer, you have to compete with other students for access. The supply of electricity to your home, on the other hand, is a prayer you wish answered. With no luck, you have to visit a neighbor, to complete your learning assessment using their personal computer. This scenario demonstrates how important having access to effective training and educational facilities is.
In recent years, E-learning organisations like Coursera and Project Management Institute have become the fad helping to ensure accessible and equitable quality education for everyone. However, emerging markets like Africa are still having trouble providing their youth with the essential education they need to contribute to sustainable progress.
According to the African Development Bank, youth unemployment occurs at a rate that is more than twice that of adults in sub-Saharan Africa, where the unemployment rate is 6%. As a result, sustainable growth in Africa is slow since the young people who do find employment aren’t well-equipped, are being underutilised, or are not well paid due to economic issues. Others work in environments that do not allow them to advance their skills or offer job stability. This demonstrates that the requirements of today’s thronging youth are unmet.
Evidently, the training that children and young people receive today will determine their employability, productivity, health, and well-being in the years to come, as well as whether or not their communities and countries will prosper.
So how can a developing frontier like Africa achieve sustainable growth through education?
Here are a few tips that come to mind:
- Increase in technology know-how: According to a report by Endeavour Nigeria, Africa’s digital economy is predicted to reach $712 billion in 2050 and could be home to a third of the world’s youth. Additionally, the widespread use of digital and technological innovations is to blame for the substantial growth seen in Africa despite the Covid-19 pandemic. It is crucial that young people acquire the necessary skills in order to maximise the region’s technological potential. There are some certifications that help with improving technical skills, for instance, the Project Management Institute offers the citizen developer certification that gives regular individuals the ability to create apps, while Coursera provides a wealth of introductory, intermediate, and advanced technology courses to anybody with an interest in the field.
- Focus on developmental projects: The Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) estimates that there is about N12 trillion worth of unfinished projects in Nigeria, with 56,000 abandoned projects spread out across all industries. Global Data, a data analytics and consulting company, states that projects were canceled or halted in the wake of the floods in April 2022, and in June 2022, around $1.1 billion worth of projects in the tender stage were canceled by the South African National Roads Agency Limited. The cancellation of projects has created a crisis for the construction industry and the recovery of the South African economy.
In order to learn the proper frameworks for planning, allocating, and implementing high-quality public infrastructure, professionals can benefit from taking courses like the PMI Construction Professional in Built Environment Projects certification and the Construction Management certification offered by Coursera.
- Free access to education for all: Governmental authorities in Sub-Saharan Africa should prioritise the education of young people by fostering the development of the skills necessary to prosper in the 21st century as we navigate the post-pandemic period. Many of us recall the introduction of free, compulsory education in Nigeria’s Western region, before 1993. This laid the groundwork for progress in the region. All citizens would have access to the information and skills required to grow the country if more money was invested in education for all. Sade, Emeka, and Ahmed are given access to education would improve the standard of living. Access to Edtech platforms like Coursera and PMI offers students access to skills required to kickstart their careers or advance them at a fraction of the cost required to attend regular courses in the university.
- Emphasise educating women and young people across the continent: According to a UNICEF report, “There are currently 18.5 million out-of-school children in Nigeria, 60 percent of these out-of-school children are girls, that is, over 10 million girls are out of school.” In Sub-Saharan Africa, about 98 million children are out of school based on UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, More women and young people must have access to basic education in order for Africa to experience sustainable development. It has been proven time and time again that women receiving an education are extremely beneficial to the country’s economy. For every ten percent of girls who receive proper education, the nation’s GDP is estimated to increase by three percent. Available statistics from Project Management Institute show that women only constitute an estimated 20% – 30% of the project management staff worldwide. For women to directly benefit, diversity must be at the heart of sustainability and a preamble to driving solutions and opportunities for women in the project management space.
- Building a bridge to entrepreneurship: Education helps people develop their entrepreneurial talents, and the appropriate training like PMI’s Business for Continuity, and Project Management Professional, enables them to actively engage in all facets of life.
In conclusion, Africa is currently in a strategic position where its economy is expanding quickly as the developed world struggles to recover. The continent must undergo a structural transition to encourage economic diversity in order to seize these new prospects.
For Africa to achieve its full potential, investments must be made to ensure that young people acquire the necessary skills, girls and young women are given access to basic education, their entrepreneurial talents are developed, and frameworks for high-quality public infrastructure are enforced.
It is time to move beyond prescriptive rhetoric and find ways to implement the actions that will help Africa reach its goals.