The African Presidential Leadership Center (APLC) Chairman Ambassador Charles Stith in partnership with the SkX Executive Chairman Abel Dlamini hosted the CEO’s roundtable breakfast, held on the 30th October at the iconic Four Seasons Hotel Westcliff, Johannesburg, the theme “Toward A Continental Strategy for Education Excellence”.
The roundtable speakers included Former President of South Africa HE Kgalema Motlanthe, Former President of Tanzania HE Jakaya Kikwete, Former Prime Minister of Kenya HE Raila Odinga. The insights and sentiments echoed by the Former Heads of State included the importance of cross continental collaboration, better private-public partnerships to enhance the education system, getting Africa ready to leapfrog into the Fourth Industrial Revolution also know Industry 4.0 and investing in Early Childhood Development. “In an increasingly high-tech global economy an educated populous is critical to nations being able to compete and its citizens being able to prosper;” this was the answer provided by APLC Board Chairman Ambassador Charles Stith as to why the upcoming African Presidential Roundtable on education is necessary.
South Africa as well as the rest of the African continent have missed the opportunity to maximise and become active economic participants in the three previous industrial revolutions due to colonisation of the African countries, and extended inequality and oppression of apartheid in South Africa.
According to the World Economic Forum Africa 2017, The Fourth Industrial Revolution will assist African economies to grow and become sustainable, even though there are many challenges that face the continent such as high levels of poverty, inequality, unemployment, ethical leadership and governance. The Youth on the African continent make-up a large portion of the African population and therefore youth need to be at the centre of the Fourth Industrial Revolution where governments provide the right policies and conducive environment that will enable youth participation in this industrial revolution.
Our education systems need to start evolving and improving at Early Childhood Development (ECD) phase. According to the South African Early Childhood Review 2017, ECD services are needed to support the development of young children. With commitment from government sectors to work together, an essential package of ECD services can be delivered to all South Africa’s young children.
“ The private sector needs to play a more active role in the improvement of our education system, even though the private sector does spend a majority of their 3% nett profit after tax on Corporate Social Investment and a large portion of that going into education initiatives, we need more collaborative efforts to enhance private-public partnerships to influence education policy if we are to achieve Vision 2030 outlined in the National Development Plan and reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 quality education and improving quality of life and access to inclusive education,” said Abel Dlamini Executive Chairman of SkX.
A recent report issued by Stats SA on 30 October 2018, paints a bleak picture of South Africa’s unemployment figures and shows that of the 6.2-million unemployed South Africans, over four million of them have been without a job for a year or longer. The unemployment rate now stands at 27.5%, up from 27.2% recorded between April and June and that women and youth are the most affected.
According to the African Development Bank Group, youth are Africa’s greatest asset. Africa’s youth population is rapidly growing and expected to double to over 830 million by 2050. If properly harnessed, this increase in the working age population could support increased productivity and stronger, more inclusive economic growth across the continent. But today, most of the youth in Africa do not have stable economic opportunities. Of Africa’s nearly 420 million youth aged 15-35, one-third are unemployed and discouraged, another third are vulnerably employed, and only one in six is in wage employment. Youth face roughly double the unemployment rate of adults, with significant variation by country. The problem is not just unemployment but underemployment, which peaks at just over half of youth in the labour force in low income countries.