Creating and enabling environment for youth and innovation in Africa is a necessity for the development of nations within the continent. As easier said, it becomes a very difficult charge when it comes to the implementation of such necessities to become a reality. Environment for youth and innovation in Africa is already existing and thus, it is not a new thing that is about to happen. Few African youth activist and innovation thinkers have been able to implement their youthful dreams into reality and therefore we can all do the same if we put in all efforts.
The main hindrance acclimatized to the enabling an environment for youth and innovation, is lack of awareness. There are a lot of international bodies which call in for innovative ideas from Africa because they know that we have the ability to think and bring out wonderful ideas. The African youth on the average, have no knowledge about all these opportunities and the few who search for these opportunities are sometimes discouraged by colleagues and other senior members or elders.
Creating environment for youth involves awareness creation, the ideas of the youth should be welcomed on all platforms and they should be given the chance to share their ideas with the public when necessary. Private sectors have major roles to play to help in this task. Individual firms and companies can organise workshops and competitions that welcome the ideas of the youth to address key issues and challenges in their companies – they should allow youth internships and include themselves in community based and youth organisations.
In my experience as a youth activist on a university campus, every young student or youth in general has a dream. These dreams are mostly self-created, genuine, innovative and outstanding because most youth have the intention to bring into existence new ideas and models. As they struggle and push to make their dreams a reality, they face two major challenges; capital and expertise.
They lack the capital to develop ideas into real business and mostly in the sciences, they are not even given grants because they are not yet expertise in their field of study. To solve this problem and encourage the youth and their innovative ideas, African countries must create a room for open youth discussions, presentations, and idea sharing platforms to be able to realize the kind of ideas their citizens wants to develop and implement. These platforms can then be shared with various firms and institution, so that they can cooperate with the idea generators and implement it to promote the youth to think and come out with more ideas.
In the universities, project works done by students are piled up in the departmental offices and the public have no idea the researches and projects done by undergraduate students. Therefore students complete and they have to sit home unemployed. If there could be platforms and national conferences held monthly or periodically for students to present their researches and projects to the open public, then students will leave school; knowing their work is already on the market and this will in a way solve the problem of unemployment.
Under many circumstances, people are afraid to send their ideas and projects to public because an expert might take the project and implement it since they have higher advantages. However, if there are systematic schemes and policies that guides and protects young undeveloped ideas, then the youth will be assured that exposure of their ideas will not result in the hands of wrong people or plagiarists. We are youth; we need attention as well as leaders who can lead us to the right path and thus, we are trusting our ideas to people whom we believe can make our dreams a reality.
Finally, I will also entreat every youth to involve in networking through social media; it is the simplest way to share your idea with reputable people. Through networking, your voice can be heard globally and you can get the needed help. Let’s challenge ourselves to do greater things and think critically in our every decision and activity in life.