Prominent industry experts have observed that the lack of heightened security measures poses a significant impediment to the advancement of technological innovation and the subsequent economic progress in Nigeria and the broader African continent. It was said that harnessing the potential of the younger generation, the cultural sphere, and the creative economy holds the pivotal solution to safeguarding the future of the African continent. Africa Soft Power recently hosted a forum with the Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and African Women on Board to discuss the interconnected nature of digital platforms, technology adoption, youth empowerment, and creative entrepreneurship in Africa.
It is critical for countries and continents development to foster young people and women inclusion at all levels of leadership. Nkiru Balonwu, Founder and Creative Director of Africa Soft Power, said that the continent’s recent social movements, such as #EndSARS and #Congoisbleeding, shows the consequences of not providing the necessary inclusion and security for women and youths. He asserted that the tendency would stay the same, highlighting the enormous growth prospects presented by Africa’s “soft power,” which is based on the continent’s thriving culture and young population.
High insecurity makes it difficult to put potential to good use.
The emergence of digital media and technological advancements has opened up opportunities for African youths to showcase their talents, shape their own stories, and forge prosperous careers in diverse sectors. Nonetheless, the continent is still dedicated to efforts to fully harness this potential for growth. Despite the vast youth opportunities, there are still significant concerns, with insecurity at the top, which poses a major threat. Security is a multifaceted concern that impacts various aspects such as fundamental human rights, living standards, trade, prosperity, freedom of movement, access to education, gender equality, and more.
Africa takes great pride in being the youngest continent, with about 60% of its people being under the age of 25. The youth enlargement projected to characterize its population by 2050 represents Africa’s best hope for economic expansion, technological advancement, and environmental preservation. In the meanwhile, high levels of insecurity make it difficult to put these potentials to good use. Ekiti State Commissioner of Finance and Economic Development Akintunde Oyewole has stated that a lack of fairness and justice makes it challenging to combat insecurity.
Issue of security in Nigeria is a complex challenge.
A lack of ramifications in a society is a major inducer for criminal behaviour, which is why such a society’s criminal activities scale up. According to Oyewole, the issue of security in Nigeria is a complex challenge with multiple aspects. Certain regions of the country are currently grappling with numerous incidents of kidnapping, while other areas are facing a drug-related crisis. Most importantly, there is a definitive acknowledgment that the capacity of the government has been gradually diminishing over time, reaching a point where it is now incapable of effectively addressing societal concerns.
Njideka Agbo, the Founder and CEO of Glann Media Consult & former Editor of Guardian Life Magazinet, echoed her viewpoint, saying that insecurity and exclusion are to blame for the brain drain occurring in Nigeria and other African countries. She claims that there was a time when Nigerians eagerly anticipated returning home, but this mindset has faded. More and more Nigerians are leaving the country in pursuit of better economic and security abroad, making up the statistics in 2018, which saw the country ranked as the fourth highest group of asylum seekers in the European Union.
Recognizing youth power and creative economy is crucial.
She argued that the degree to which the government recognises and values its youths, as well as the degree to which it provides them with security and inclusion, are vital factors in measuring their level of patriotism. A platform like Securing The Future: Youth Power, Culture & the Creative Economy enables government actors and young people’s voices from a variety of sectors to interact with one another. As Africa receive global support, Agbo concluded that it is crucial to recognise the importance of youth power and the creative economy in creating a thriving African continent.