What does it really mean to be young in Africa? During a recent conference, IPSOS Africa shed light on a new a generation of leaders.
Do men and women living in Africa really have different hobbies, interests and concerns to those living in the rest of the world? It would appear not to be the case. Like people everywhere, they enjoy tuning into their favorite music stations, watching sports on television and spending their weekends in shopping centers. The Mall of Africa in Johannesburg, for instance, offers a vast array of choice from both local and international retailers.
Despite low access to the Internet (only 9.8% of internet users in Africa. Source: Internet World Stats), you might be surprised to learn that in certain parts of the continent, people spend roughly two and a half hours per day on social media.
Besides Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, Afrocentric services are also provided. For instance, MIXit serves as a Google Talk equivalent. It was founded by a South African team and specifically targets African users. Another example is Africanzone which serves as both a dating site and a place for professionals to put their products on the market and to meet other buyers and sellers. According to the African Business Review, this is just the beginning as many social networks have “popped up in recent years that are specifically geared to the African market”.
On a more serious note, young Africans also share the same fears as the rest of us regarding unemployment. Countries such as South Africa and Egypt have unemployment rates of 25.5% and 12.8% respectively (Source: Forbes). On top of that, living in major cities has become increasingly difficult and in most cases limited to the wealthy. Luanda, the capital of Angola is according to some indicators the world’s most expensive city to live in with rental costs ranging from 10 000 euros to 35 000 euros. N’Djamena, the capital of Chad comes in second place. This is rather surprising as N’Djamena is known for lacking proper facilities, roads, railways and seaports (Source: Africa Ranking).
The subject of womens’ rights has come into focus following the 2014 kidnapping of Chibok schoolgirls in Nigeria. Obigaeli Ezekwesili, who has occupied the position of Minister of Solid Mineral and Minister of Education of Nigeria, was very active in the launch of the “Bring Back our Girls” movement which made headlines across the globe.
Young Africans have overcome many obstacles thanks to the fast actions strong-willed young individuals eager to provide their people with answers to the socio-economic challenges faced by the continent, instead of waiting for a miracle remedy from abroad. Tech savvy and socially conscious, it’s a safe bet that the youth of Africa will succeed in shaping the future of Africa.