How Can African Millennials Leverage Cryptocurrencies?

The Current Context

  • Africa is the world’s youngest continent, and cryptos are some of the world’s youngest currencies.
  • Africa’s youth (youngest globally)
  • Africa is the world’s youngest continent.

According to statistics from the World Bank

“a third of the world’s population is under 20 years old. But some countries are younger than others. In around 40 African countries (out of 54), over 50% the population is under 20.

This youthfulness of Africa presents the continent with an unbelievable opportunity to harness the energy and innovativeness of young people. The energy in terms of enthusiasm and from a physical standpoint, they will be in the labor force with many productive years ahead in order to contribute to society. As well as the innovativeness that new technologies are disrupting the established norms in the economy, finance, infrastructure, politics, and education. These young people will be at the cusp of looking to solve all of the historic challenges we face on the continent with a fresh and innovative set of lenses.

Current Challenges

The challenge that African leaders in government and business have to figure out is how to properly engage this next generation of leaders. We all know that youthful exuberance can be forked into two directions, one the path towards opportunity and progress or two through a more destructive and harmful road. Both outcomes will have a global impact as we move deeper into the 21st century. It is in the interest of the current crop of leaders in Africa to make sure that that path leads to positive outcomes for the global community.

It is important that their is heavy investment in education and job creation by the African governments for the youth.

In education it is important that the Government’s’ place significant priority to the sector. We are now living in a digital age where technology is changing the way we do everything. This is a global phenomenon. As so, it needs priority placed on heavy investment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This will not only prepare young people but also allow them to be creators of innovation to improve African lives.

The youth of today are growing up in a society where information is readily available for them through so many different mediums ie. internet, smartphones. These young people are innovating regardless of the shortcomings currently provided by the education system. In places like South Africa innovators are creating applications to serve currently underserved communities to bring them into the traditional economy like “Lakheni…a social and business model innovation which seeks to aggregate low-income households into buying-groups in order to negotiate favorable discounts for goods and services supplied to these households. (http://lakheni.co.za/).”

Unintended Consequences

If some of these challenges are not sorted out there may be an uptick in young men and women emigrating dangerously to the shores of Europe. According to IOM, “Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 28 percent more migrant deaths during the first half of 2016 compared with the same period in 2015…This is a 28 percent increase compared to the same time period in 2015, and a 52 per cent increase for the same time period in 2014. This dramatic change can be attributed to a higher number of recorded migrant fatalities in the Mediterranean Sea, North Africa, the Middle East and the Horn of Africa.“

This is global crisis that the world has to think about and we on the continent can deter some of these outcomes by strategically planning to invest in the youth and also setting up a parallel vocational system that can build on the usage and adoption of innovations on the continent.

  • Africa’s economy (fasting growing in the world)
  • Africa is also home to six of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world, those six are in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The future is bright, very bright indeed.
  • The growth plus the youth population are a recipe for making the 21st century that will see Africa take it its rightful place.
  • Now we know Africa is not new to being at the forefront of innovations, it is home to some of the most innovative companies the world.
Example in Practice

For instance, in 2007 M-Pesa was born. M-Pesa is mobile money platform which allows users to send money to other mobile phones seamlessly and instantly. Launched by Safaricom a Kenyan telecom that partnered with Vodacom. It has innovated to include making mobile payments to businesses, you can buy gasoline for your car from the Shell or Total fuel stations, buy groceries, or send money to your grandmother in her rural home. This system helped bank the unbanked and created a completely new ecosystem for payments and deposits.

Making Connections

There are a lot of similarities between:

  • Africa’s innovations (mpesa)
  • Bitcoin (Satoshi proposal)
  • Blockchain (what is it)
  • Cryptocurrency

How do young millennials on the continent get involved and take advantage of these new technologies?

Many African millennials may ask these questions:

  • What is bitcoin? Blockchain? Cryptocurrencies?
  • How are people making money investing in these new currencies?
  • Why are the prices for cryptocurrencies rising so high the price rising so high?
  • How can Africa position itself in order to benefit from these new innovations?

The Innovative Potential of Africa’s Youth (youngest globally)

Africa is the world’s youngest continent.

According to statistics from the World Bank

“a third of the world’s population is under 20 years old. But some countries are younger than others. In around 40 African countries (out of 54), over 50% the population is under 20.”

This youthfulness of Africa presents the continent with an unbelievable opportunity to harness their energy and innovativeness. These characteristics will likely transform the African labor force to ensure productivity for society and innovativeness for economies. New innovative technologies will disrupt the established norms in the economy, finance, infrastructure, politics, and education. African youth are at the cusp of solving many historic challenges faced on the continent with fresh, innovative lenses.

African leaders in government and business need to understand the challenge of properly engaging this next generation of leaders. Youthful exuberance can fork into two directions. One the path leads towards opportunity and progress. The second curves into a more destructive and harmful road. Both outcomes will have a global impact as we move deeper into the 21st century. The interest of current African leaders should be to ensure paths to positive outcomes for African and global communities.

Ensuring the path of positive progress requires heavy investment

First of all, governments around African need to place significant priority to in the education sector. We are now living in a digital age where technology is changing the way we do everything. This is a global phenomenon and needs a priority placed on heavy investment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This is to prepare young people and to allow them to be creators of innovation for improving African lives.

The youth of today are growing up in a society where information is readily available for them through so many different mediums (i.e. internet, smartphones.) Young people are innovating despite of the shortcomings currently provided by their education systems. Innovators in places like South Africa are creating applications to bring currently underserved communities into the traditional economy. For example, “Lakheni” is a social and business model innovation which seeks to aggregate low-income households into buying-groups in order to negotiate favorable discounts for goods and services supplied to these households. (http://lakheni.co.za/).”

If some of these challenges are not sorted out, there may be an uptick in young men and women emigrating dangerously to the shores of Europe. According to IOM, “Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 28 percent more migrant deaths during the first half of 2016 compared with the same period in 2015. This represents a 28 percent increase compared to the same time period in 2015, and a 52 percent increase for the same time period in 2014. This dramatic change can be attributed to a higher number of recorded migrant fatalities in the Mediterranean Sea, North Africa, the Middle East and the Horn of Africa.“

Conclusion

This is global crisis that the world has to consider. We on the continent can deter some of these outcomes by strategically planning to invest in the youth. Additionally, we should also set up a parallel vocational system to build on the usage and adoption of innovations.

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