Founder of Microsoft and Philanthropist, Bill Gates says African leaders must harness the power and ability of youths to drive innovation in the continent. He said African leaders must encourage the youths and provide opportunity for them to thrive.
He said this during the 14th Annual Nelson Mandela Foundation Lecture in Pretoria, South Africa, where he was the keynote speaker.
Gates acknowledged some young Africans who have created groundbreaking innovations, though he admitted that economic, social and health challenges prevailing in the continent are some of the factors that could hinder development of the youth and that of the future of Africa.
He emphasized the need for African leaders to multiply the talents for innovation by the whole of Africa’s growing population, and that depends on whether all of Africa’s young people are given the opportunity to thrive.
“Nelson Mandela said poverty is not natural, it is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. We are the human beings that must take action and we have to decide now because this unique moment won’t last,” Gates said.
He added that “We must clear away the obstacles that are standing in young people’s way so that they can seize all their potential,
“If young people are sick and malnourished, their bodies and brains will never fully develop. If they are not educated well, their minds will lie dormant. If they do not have access to economic opportunities, they will not be able to achieve their goals,” he added.