Preparing African Youth for the Digital Economy and Future of Work


One thing is sure. Our world has and continues to change. Drastically. Our economic landscape today is probably something our forefathers would’ve never imagined. These changes cut across all disciplines.

We’ve got many educated youngsters, who are faced with the issue of skills mismatch in the labor market. This has been going on for quite some time now. One wonders whether or not it’s too late to rectify this economic malady? But what if something could be done? What would it entail?

According to Klaus Schwab and Richard Samans in The Future of Jobs: Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution,

Disruptive changes to business models will have a profound impact on the employment landscape over the coming years. Many of the major drivers of transformation currently affecting global industries are expected to have a significant impact on jobs, ranging from significant job creation to job displacement, and from heightened labor productivity to widening skills gaps.

An undeniable fact is that, urbanization and industrialization continue to reshape the world’s economic order. The world’s business map is continually being redrawn. Everything has become more complex and digital.

Pervasive use of technology is our new reality. While most of our academic institutions haven’t changed their output, the future of work evidently calls for radical measures to effect necessary changes in youth’s capacity to adapt. The present skill acquisition needs some remodelling.

Klaus further posit that,

Today, we are at the beginning of a Fourth Industrial Revolution. Developments in genetics, artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing and biotechnology, to name just a few, are all building on and amplifying one another. This will lay the foundation for a revolution more comprehensive and all-encompassing than anything we have ever seen.

While the impending change holds great promise, the patterns of consumption, production and employment created by it also pose major challenges requiring proactive adaptation by corporations, governments and individuals.