Philanthropist and Founder of Microsoft, Mr Bill Gates, says the power of the youths in Africa should be harnessed and their ability to drive innovation must be encouraged and given an opportunity to thrive.
He was the keynote speaker at the 14th Annual Nelson Mandela Foundation Lecture in Pretoria, South Africa, where he acknowledged some young Africans who have created groundbreaking innovations.
Mr Gates identified economic, social and health challenges prevailing in the continent as some of the factors that could hinder their development 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.
“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 said.