Home Science Technology Caribou Digital Releases Report on Youth and Digital Technology in Africa

Caribou Digital Releases Report on Youth and Digital Technology in Africa

Caribou Digital Panelists
Caribou Digital Panelists

Caribou Digital, a leading research and advisory firm, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, has unveiled a comprehensive report titled “Youth in Digital Africa: Our connections.

Our choices. Our future.”

The report captures the experiences and aspirations of young Africans regarding digital technology, advocating for increased investment in digital infrastructure, skills training, and inclusive policies to harness the potential of Africa’s youth.

Key Insights and Findings

The report, based on a six-month study (July 2022 – January 2023) conducted across seven African countries, highlights the voices of young people and their interactions with digital technology. The study involved 360 firsthand accounts and a youth panel of 20 individuals, including refugees and people with disabilities. The findings focus on five key themes: access, skills, jobs, voice, and choice.

Addressing the Gender and Digital Divide

A significant finding is the gender gap in digital technology use. Societal norms often discourage young women from engaging with social media, and they face higher rates of online harassment, limiting their participation in both social and business activities online.

Overcoming Challenges for Young People with Disabilities

Young Africans with disabilities reported difficulties in acquiring and using essential assistive technologies due to high costs. For instance, Papi from Rwanda struggled to afford lessons for using JAWS, a screen-reading software, highlighting the barriers to leveraging digital tools for the visually impaired.

Economic Opportunities and Digital Transformation

The report emphasizes the economic potential of digital technologies for young Africans, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many young entrepreneurs pivoted their businesses online, demonstrating resilience and adaptability facilitated by digital access. A survey across Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Ghana, and Ethiopia revealed that at least 15% of young entrepreneurs took their businesses online during the pandemic.

Calls to Action

Grace Natabaalo, Research & Insights Manager, Caribou Digital, stressed the need for robust infrastructure, skills training, and inclusive policies to ensure Africa’s youth are not left behind. She highlighted the importance of preparing young Africans for the era of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Ayo Ojebode, Director, Research Systems Strengthening and Knowledge Mobilization, Mastercard Foundation, reaffirmed the Foundation’s commitment to enabling young Africans to access dignified and fulfilling work through digital technology, which plays a crucial role in network building, market access, skill development, and more.

Empowering Young Africans

The report showcases the empowering potential of digital technologies, enabling young Africans to connect, build networks, discover opportunities, and access resources. It underscores the transformative impact of digital access on learning and work, fostering new income opportunities and financial independence.

“Youth in Digital Africa” champions the voices of young Africans, calling on governments to invest in digital infrastructure and skills development, especially for marginalized groups such as young women, people with disabilities, those in rural areas, and refugees. The report aims to influence policy changes that will shape a brighter digital future for over 400 million young people in Africa.

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