What gives me sleepless nights - By Strive Masiyiwa

#JobsMatter (Part 1)

Congratulations to the 12 #GoGettaz finalists I announced a few days ago at the Abuja Town Hall. At win.kwese.com you'll see fellow entrepreneurs from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. There's another word for these 12 finalists... #JobCreators!

By now you know that the biggest crisis facing Africa is #JobCreation. I read a report recently which said we currently have over 300m young people in Africa of working age, who have no jobs. That figure is set to double by 2030, only 13 years from now!

How we deal with that problem will shape the future of Africa, if not the world, for the remainder of this century. The problem is so huge that many political leaders are just in denial about it. Most policymakers aren't sure how to tackle it. Progressive business leaders are worried.

President Obama once asked me what gives me sleepless nights. Without hesitation, I told him:

__“How do we create jobs in Africa?”

“I would like you to come to the White House one day, so we can discuss this issue. You are right to be thinking about it.”

I was privileged to spend time with him and discuss my ideas.

As an entrepreneur, to try to tackle this challenge, I'm using what is in “my hand.” I am not a politician or policymaker. All my life, I have started businesses, and grown businesses. I have always appreciated that this is the most assured way to generate wealth and create jobs.

__We can create jobs in Africa, through a revolutionary culture of entrepreneurship!

As a tech entrepreneur though, I'm also acutely aware that we are entering a “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” and I understand more than most that the technologies underpinning this new revolution require fewer and fewer people to carry out certain activities.

If you haven't already, take a look at this World Economic Forum 2017 report on the future of jobs and skills in Africa -- https://www.weforum.org/…/the-future-of-jobs-and-skills-in-… which says:

"With more than 60% of the population under the age of 25, sub-Saharan Africa is already the world's youngest region today -- and, by 2030, will be home to more than one-quarter of the world's under-25 population."

Crisis or opportunity? That is up to us. This is not an easy time to be trying to launch the greatest employment-creation revolution in history!

I was speaking to a well-meaning African policymaker the other day who spoke passionately about “a manufacturing revolution in his country, in order to create jobs.”

I thought to myself: “It may not be enough to create jobs, because manufacturing was principally a tool of the last industrial revolution.”

# Having a job really matters!

Not everyone can start their own business. We must help those who can start their own businesses, so they can employ others, but ultimately, we must face the huge challenge of creating employment through bold courageous policymaking, including improving and transforming our education systems to prepare our next generation for the jobs of the future (not jobs which soon will be extinct!)

I wish I could say to you, “Here's an African country that has got this right." I really wish I could! We are running out of time, so we must use the little time we have wisely.

I recently shared how Kofi Annan told me whilst we were traveling in Mali several years ago: “Look at all these young men milling around with nothing to do. Either they will have to cross the Sahara and Mediterranean Sea to look for work in Europe, or they will start listening to extremists, and come back to fight us.”

He was speaking prophetically, because both are happening with a vengeance!

When you take a look at the pitch videos of the Kwesé Inc #GoGettaz at win.kwese.com, you will meet African #JobCreators in the making! (Each of our finalists was given only a few days to put together his or her pitch videos on their phones, and no equipment or resources to do so).

Now it's YOUR turn to put on your shark hat and vote for one man and one woman (you can vote for more than one of each). Just one question you might ask yourself: Whose venture will #CreateTheMostJobs?

We have no time to waste anymore.

To be continued. . .

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