The Chairman of Hires Holding and founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr Tony Elumelu, has said that the operating environment in Africa makes it difficult for the youth to succeed.
Elumelu was responding to a question by Jim Young Kim, the President, World Bank Group at the sideline session on Digital Economy at the ongoing Spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington D.C
Elumelu said: “We have 60 per cent of our working population at the age of 30 and we have 65 per cent of our economy in the informal sector. This present quite interesting opportunities for digital economy.
“In my interactions with young Africans, I have seen people who are determined, energetic, hungry to succeed and make a difference and are extremely intelligent, but the environment makes it difficult for them to succeed.”
He however said no meaningful discussion on digital economy in Africa can be held without fixing critical infrastructure. “Digital connectivity is a major issue in Africa and you can’t fix it if you don’t have reliable access to electricity. So, if we want to truly address the issue of digital economy in Africa, these challenges have to be fixed.”
He said governments need to understand that if priority is the young ones and they make the operating environment conducive, the youth would be able to optimise the required intellects. “They would do well and we would be able to solve some of the problems in the continent.”
He also pointed out that regulation was a major issue along side, intellectual property.
He called on governments to incentivize investors with the factors that will help address the issues.
“There are lots of opportunities in the continent and we need to look at these opportunities. Let’s fix policy issues and all these issues I have identified and investors will come to Africa,” he said.