Deputy President William Ruto has said the future of Africa lies in the youth being put at the centre of its development plans.
He said gone were days when this energetic and innovative age class would be seen as future leaders.
Addressing the Shape Africa Summit at the United Nations Complex in Gigiri on Friday, Dr Ruto said the youth are the experts of the fourth industrial revolution.
“They must, therefore, be at the fore-front of shaping the Africa we want,” he said.
He told the Summit the revolution provided the first opportunity to re-order the world and extend the reach of justice, inclusion, growth and prosperity to all of humanity.
Dr Ruto explained that Africa’s youth had become a demographic dividend, turning into the frontiers of unprecedented growth and promise.
He challenged the continent to assemble the cohort of visionaries who will light the spark that will produce an explosion of innovation and transformation to hasten Africa’s race to 2063.
To ensure that the youth drive Kenya’s development blueprint, the Vision 2030, the Deputy President said the government had unveiled a new, competency-based curriculum that aims to address the mismatch between courses taught in class and the market skills.
“The curriculum, in addition to investments in technical and vocational training, will enable young people to re-skill and up-skill as the nature of work evolves,” he noted.
Dr Ruto said the government’s deliberate investment in technical training would turn them into the centre of excellence for growing the requisite human capital that is agile and responsive to systemic shifts in the industry.
“This is also due to the appreciation to the fact that young people will make up 50 per cent of the workforce by 2020 and 75 per cent by 2025 globally,” he observed.
United Nation’s Environment Acting Executive Director Joyce Msuya said young people are the symbol of innovation, and as such, should be at the core of the development narrative.
“We cannot attain the global sustainable goals without the energy of the youth,” she said.
Ms Msuya called on Africa to offer a platform to young people so that they can be part of the solution to the problems facing the continent.
United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative Siddharth Chatterjee asked leaders to endeavour creating a level playing field for the youth to thrive.
“We cannot make these youths flourish, and become more innovative if inequalities still exist in the society. Let us direct our energies towards making the environment conducive for businesses youth pursue grow,” he said.
Born out of the World Economic Forum, Shape Africa is an annual forum that discusses solutions to some of the continent’s pressing issues.