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West African Youth Push for Digital Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Talking About The Future
Talking About The Future

At the 2024 Youth Voices for Change Summit in Accra, Ghana, West African youth presented a compelling case for the establishment of innovation hubs, increased investment in digital entrepreneurship, and leveraging technology to bolster regional security.

The summit, which concluded on June 6th, highlighted key demands and recommendations aimed at advancing the socio-economic landscape of the region.

One of the primary calls from the youth was for the creation of innovation hubs across ECOWAS member states. These hubs, they argued, would serve as focal points for nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship among young people. Additionally, the youth emphasized the need for greater investment in digital entrepreneurship, citing it as a critical avenue for job creation and economic growth.

A key highlight of the summit was the youth’s proposal to integrate training in new technologies into school curricula, in collaboration with national education ministries. This, they believe, would better prepare young people to navigate the challenges of the 21st century and contribute meaningfully to the digital economy.

In a 40-point declaration, the youth underscored their commitment to using social media and networks for job creation and advocacy campaigns. They also expressed readiness to combat cybercrime, terrorism, and youth disempowerment, calling for mentorship programs and start-up funding to support their initiatives.

The Message
The Message

The summit’s focus on digital innovation, inclusion, regional economic growth, peace, and stability resonated with stakeholders, including USAID, WANEP, UNOWAS, and DANIDA. The event served as a platform for meaningful engagement and dialogue, with participants highlighting the importance of sustained partnership and youth involvement in policy discussions.

In closing, Amb Francis Njoaguani of the ECOWAS Commission reiterated the Commission’s commitment to supporting youth-led initiatives for a more prosperous and peaceful region. His sentiments were echoed by Mr. Constant Gnacadja, who emphasized the need for continued positive engagement of West Africa’s youth to drive sustainable development.

The summit’s outcomes are poised to shape the region’s approach to digital innovation and youth empowerment, paving the way for a brighter future for West African youth.

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