Africa’s fast-growing population is one of the defining issues of our age. It’s a topic which influences all kinds of discussions about the continent’s future, from the challenges of managing economic growth and food security to health and overall development.
It’s easy to see why. There’s plenty of demographic research which shows in 30 years, one in four people on the planet will be African, but there’s less evidence that most African economies, particularly in Sub Saharan Africa, will keep up with the population growth. The most optimistic takes are that African birth rates will decline rather than GDP per capita growth rates catching up.
A key question is how African governments will manage their teeming young populations given youth unemployment across the continent is clearly one of their biggest challenges. The issue is often debated in the context of what the future of work will look like in Africa, but an increasing number of thought-leaders and researchers say we should re-frame the discussion as one about the future of education on the continent.
Fred Swaniker, co-founder of the African Leadership Academy, was named a “pioneer” on Time magazine’s annual list of 100 influential people for his work reimagining education across the continent with the ALA and the African Leadership University and its spin-off the Anzisha Prize, which focuses on young entrepreneurs
A new green paper from Anzisha focuses on what it describes as “very young” entrepreneurs, which it defines as people aged between 15 to 22. It argues policymakers should foster an economic environment in which young people can more easily build businesses with the significant upside that these entrepreneurs will create jobs for their fellow young people.
To achieve this parents and teachers would also need to be on board with a new attitude towards entrepreneurship rather than it being seen as only an option for outliers. At last week’s Anzisha Summit in Johannesburg on Very Young Entrepreneurs many of the speakers called on African education policymakers to push for entrepreneurship lessons to be introduced to young people much earlier in their academic journey.
Ultimately, the hope is if more young people create businesses then more young people will get employed. Much of this, like any proposal or thesis, is academic until put into practice. But there’s a strong argument to say the current state of affairs across African countries, where youth unemployment is sometimes more than twice the national average, needs a more radical approach than we have today.
The biggest issue is not simply just that more young people should be entrepreneurs but that they need to have the skills to do so with intention . Many young Africans are self-employed today, but often as a short-term means of survival rather than by choice or with a plan.
— Yinka Adegoke, Quartz Africa editor
STORIES FROM THIS WEEK
Powerful photos of women protesting are shaping popular uprisings in Africa. Algerian and Sudanese locals and diaspora members participated in the months-long uprisings that led to the downfall of the two nations’ strongmen in recent weeks. But as Abdi Latif Dahir explains, the iconic images of women leading these revolts have become symbols in the way African women have and continue to shape protest movements.
One month on, Cyclone Idai’s devastation by the numbers. The amount of damage done to Mozambique, Malawi and and Zimbabwe by Cyclone Idai last month could cost an aggregate of billions of dollars and impact 3 million people. So far over 1,000 people have been killed directly or indirectly by the cyclone.
Netflix’s first children’s animation from Africa is an all-girl spy team written by women. Netflix has picked up Zambian writer Malenga Mulendema’s animated series about four teenage girls who are spies saving the world from a futuristic Lusaka. As Lynsey Chutel writes, the show could save Netflix’s children’s programming from changes in the industry.
What lessons have African protest movements taken from the Arab Spring? In both Algeria and Sudan the civilian protest movements have learned not to be merely satisfied with the removal of a powerful dictator while much of the former leader’s political clique remain clinging on to power.
Trump’s latest immigration plan targets African countries whose citizens overstay visas. As many as five African countries could be caught in the cross-hairs of an immigration rule currently being considered by US president Donald Trump, Yomi Kazeem writes. It follows previous measures that have already resulted in visa bans for four African countries.
The Africans named on the Time 100 list. Five high-profile Africans cutting across the fields of sports, politics and education were named on Time magazine’s annual high-powered list of global influencers alongside global household names like Donald Trump and Xi Jinping and Pope Francis.
CHART OF THE WEEK
Jumia’s first week as a stock has been good for investors, but operations are a big issue. A strong first-week run on the New York Stock Exchange since launching its IPO has seen Jumia’s share price more than double. But while it’s a landmark, the IPO will not gloss over the enduring operational challenges of e-commerce in Africa.
OTHER THINGS WE LIKED
The female boxers fighting back in the Congo. After more than a decade of civil unrest during which sexual violence was routinely used as a weapon of war, more women are taking up boxing. Boxing has become a form of self-defense in a country where sexual violence is rife, but also a source of companionship, purpose, and hope for the future. In the Guardian, Alessandro Grassani photographs show their newfound strength.
The women defying all odds to run Somaliland’s unlikely marathon. Because of questions of modesty and the social stigma associated with a woman running the streets, Somali women barely jog or run. But as Rachel Pieh Jones writes in Deadspin, women in the self-declared state of Somaliland are hitting the road often—for fun, for health, and for future sports ambitions.
Graduate degrees in sexual reproductive rights. African citizens can apply for a two-year, fully-funded master of law degree to gain a better understanding of sexual and reproductive health and rights. (June 30)
French-African Young Leaders Program. African applicants whose ambition is to become true agents of change can get the opportunityto establish links with French networks and other African leaders in public and private sectors. (May 17)
KEEP AN EYE ON
Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (Apr. 23-25). The seventh edition of the forum to discuss Africa’s digital policy will be held in Lagos, Nigeria and attended by over 300 delegates from more than 30 countries.
Rwanda supreme court to rule on penal code petition (Apr. 24). Lawyers submitted a petition last year against amendments to the penal code that included criminalizing cartoons that defame public officials.
Second edition of China’s Belt and Road forum (Apr. 25-27). Almost 40 heads of state and government, including from African nations, will gather in Beijing to sound their support for the multi-billion dollar infrastructure roadmap that involves some 150 countries and multinationals.
*This brief was produced while listening to That’s For Me by Vanessa Mdee featuring Distruction Boyz, DJ Tira, Prince Bulo (Tanzania/South Africa)
Our best wishes for a productive and thought-filled week ahead. Please send any news, comments, suggestions, ore Netflix African cartoons and more Jumia stock to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow us on Twitter at @qzafrica for updates throughout the day.