Can digitalisation lead to better jobs for African youth?

Decent jobs and income are essential if young people are to participate fully in their societies and realise their potential. And around the world, rapidly increasingly digitalisation brings both opportunities and challenges for young people’s chances of employment and economic inclusion. RNW Media, together with the Netherlands’ Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV) and FMO, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank, invite you to join a lively interactive debate on the game-changing potential of digitalisation for young people in Africa.

The AIV is an independent body which advises the Dutch government and parliament on foreign policy. At the government’s request it recently produced a report on ‘how the coming waves of digitalisation and automation will impact on employment and job opportunities for young people in Africa, and how Dutch development policy can respond’. The report identifies the main obstacles standing between young people in Africa and their ability to participate in the digital economy. It also recommends ways in which the Netherlands can support initiatives to tackle these obstacles through international development cooperation.

Youth voices
RNW Media’s newly launched Economic Inclusion programme is also focusing on the opportunities digitalisation offers young people. Our approach is always to centre the needs and aspirations of the young people in the countries where we work, so the upcoming debate will feature the voices of three RNW Media colleagues working on the ground in Burundi, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They will respond to the findings of the AIV report and an expert panel will respond to their views and questions.

The panel will include members of the AIV and representatives from Nuffic, (the Dutch organisation for internationalism in education). Guest of honour will be Tijmen Rooseboom, Ambassador for Youth of the Netherlands, focusing on work and education. Journalist Ana Karadarevic, recently elected to the board for the Netherlands Press Council (Raad voor de Journalistiek), will moderate the session.

Better jobs
RNW Media’s young experts will each address a different key topic from the AIV report. Dacia Munezero (Communication and Public Relations Officer, Yaga Burundi) will speak to the need for better jobs in Burundi where youth unemployment is a severe problem. According to one study youth unemployment rates are over 55% in rural areas and over 65% in urban ones.

Better digital education
Oyindamola Bamgbola-Fadeyi (Social Media Editor of Love Matters Naija) will speak on the need for greater investment in education and digital skills development in Nigeria. Although young people are often described as “digital natives”, the majority of them lack the necessary digital skills for the job market. In fact, a 2018 study found that large minorities of young Nigerians don’t actually know about the internet.

Better internet governance
Trésor-Dieudonné Kalonji Bilolo (Social Media Editor, Habari RDC) will discuss online freedoms, censorship; and mis/disinformation. DRC, like other African countries, suffers from government shutdowns of the internet and social media and struggles with online hate speech and disinformation. So how can donor countries like The Netherlands support efforts in DRC to improve internet governance?

Take part
The debate is a ‘Road-to’ session in the lead-up to the Youth at Heart Forum on November 2. This virtual event, organised by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will bring together a range of stakeholders to discuss issues around the engagement of young people in building inclusive and sustainable societies.The online debate will take place on 15 October 2020 at 14:30 CET. There will be an opportunity for online participants to put questions to the speakers via the chat space. If you would like to join the debate, please register here.