Speaking during this year’s New York Forum Africa, Mr. Christian de Faria, CEO, Airtel Africa said “Africa is a continent with a young population, and this population is a powerful tool for development. Yet, the youth can only actively participate in positively transforming the continent if it is well prepared. That is why relevant training for the youth and an enabling ICT infrastructure is vital for the emergence of Africa as a dynamic economic centre.”
Mr. de Faria took an active part in the third edition of the New York Forum Africa held in Libreville, centered on the theme of transforming the African continent through local processing of its vast natural resources. The Forum had a special focus on African youth, as a catalyst for the development of Africa.
“Airtel recognizes the significant potential of the youth to drive the economies where we operate. That is why we are investing in rolling out ICT training programmes in countries such as Chad where over 6,000 will benefit. We are also in the process of training another 5,000 young adults in Gabon – and we will continue doing this across Africa,” said Mr. de Faria.
A research survey of Africa’s Generation Y was also unveiled by The New York Forum Institute. As well as being presented to heads of state and participants at the forum, the survey findings will be distributed by The New York Forum Institute to the top 10 companies and universities across Africa. In addition, the findings will also be presented to the first U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC on August 5 and 6, 2014.
Mr. de Faria said the challenge now remains for players in telecoms, including governments, to find a sustainable, unified vision to support learning by creating platforms such as tech hubs, centres of excellence and driving connectivity through technologies such as 3G / 4G, wireless broadband to boost innovation.
“Advancing telecommunications has a significant role in developing knowledge economies in Africa and education is the foundation of economic growth. We realize that knowledge is inseparable from the development of human capital and by investing in high-speed and smart infrastructure networks, we are bringing our young adults closer to economic independence,” said Mr. de Faria.
Airtel also took the opportunity to showcase 4G technology for participants at the forum venue.