Dr Yaya Moussa
3 min readSep 7, 2021

Africa is the second most populous continent, and with almost 60% of its population under the age of 25, it is effectively also the world’s youngest. Africa’s young people represent an untapped potential and an enormous talent pool, providing Africa with a significant competitive advantage when it comes to global workforce. Yet, the continent is still lacking proper structures to nurture and accommodate this up-and-coming generation.

As we celebrated the strength and qualities of young people around the world during this year’s international youth day, we must also reflect on the challenges they face, especially in Africa, and particularly in the recent context of the COVID-19 pandemic. We need to take action to not only support, but also empower and instil a sense of ownership of the future in Africa’s young people. Beyond celebrating, we need to give them a seat at the table when it comes to decision making and problem solving.

Acknowledging the potential of our young people is one thing, harnessing it is another. I have previously spoken at length about the dangers of brain drain for the continent and how we can move from a model in which Africa’s best and brightest are encouraged abroad, to a brain gain model, where we cultivate and utilise our young talent on and for the continent.

Although there is an enormous sense of pride on the continent about being African, when offered the opportunity to leave to follow their dreams in more developed markets, few young people might choose to stay. Limited access to education and training remains one of the biggest problems Africa’s young face, closely followed by high levels of unemployment. In addressing these issues, both the public and private sectors have a crucial role to play in creating an enabling environment for African young people to thrive.

Building capacity in Africa is core to the continent’s socio-economic development and must be an integral part of the overall strategy for creating the Africa we want: a prosperous one. Only by identifying and nurturing a new generation of local experts will we be able to establish the continent as an attractive alternative to foreign destinations. Nevertheless, successfully establishing Africa as a place where upcoming generations of talented young people can thrive will require listening to the that generation’s needs, as these surely diverge greatly from their predecessors.

Beyond capacity building, we must give young people real career prospects and professional development. However, from nepotism to corruption, today, there remains far too many barriers blocking young people from achieve their full potential. When it comes to addressing these challenges, both public and private entities must work together in eradicating them: public entities by creating a favourable and enabling environment for both education and business, and private entities by providing tangible capacity building initiatives from internships to mentorships.

I have always been a fervent supporter of capacity building and knowledge sharing. As a token of my commitment to empowering young Africans by giving them the necessary tools to blossom, I recently founded the Africa Prime Initiative (API). API aims to support young African creatives working in all forms of visual arts across the continent by equipping them with funding, technical knowhow and an international platform to showcase their work and talent to the world.

There is a quote that says: “Those who fail to prepare, prepare to fail” and in the case of Africa, failing to prepare the next generation for success means ultimately setting the continent up for failure. Young people are often said to be the future, and the future starts today. Let’s bet on them!



Dr Yaya Moussa

A finance expert, entrepreneur and the founder of Africa Prime, a video streaming service providing a platform to profile African talent.