Youth is the future of Africa; it is the hope he says. While many young people leave the continent heading to Europe or elsewhere in job hunting,Prince Adu-Appiah, chose to stay. Today as chairman and founder of the NGO 1Billion Africa he foresees a prosperous future for Africa. “If good leadership prevails and if collaborative efforts are developed by governments, private sectors and civil societies to invest more in the youth, we shall tell a better story in the future.”
With 200 million people aged between 15 and 24 representing 20% of total population, Africa has the youngest crowd in the world according to a 2012 report by the African Development Bank. So the rising continent has every reason to invest on the new generation. To some extent this is already happening through education. Sub-Saharan African countries have improved remarkably in terms of education since school enrolment has risen from 52% to 90% between 1990 to this year.
The case of Ashesi University is one of the many stories representing this trend. Back in 1998 Patrick Awuah decided to quit his job in Microsoft, return to his home country Ghana and establish the Ashesi University. Located in the outskirts of the capital Accra it is today a promising educational hub for the country’s next generation of leaders.
Since 2002 it has focused on business, information systems and computer science studies since as Awuah told CNN in Ghana “only 5% of college-age kids go to college meaning that anyone who goes to college by definition is going to be running this country one day…they’re going to be designing roads and buildings and infrastructure, they’re going to be running the hospitals, the schools, the businesses.”
Youth start ups such as 1Billion Africa work towards the same direction. As one of the many rising organizations it attempts to empower the new generation. Initially established in Ghana, with a mission to expand in 54 states by 2024, 1Billion Africa is at the moment operating 10 countries having an impact on almost 4,000 youths and children. As Prince Adu-Appiah sees it “we have many problems in Africa, but we have many Youth or Africans who can turn these problems into their personal projects, solve them and build better communities“.
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