By Gifty Arthur
Social media site Facebook, has celebrated some young people from across Sub-Saharan Africa, through a programme themed; “Celebrating Icons of Change and the Future of the Continent”.
The two-day event, held at the plush Kempinski Gold Coast hotel in Accra, brought together some 40 young people from 15 countries, including Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Madagascar, and Kenya.
Other countries which were represented were, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Ethiopia, Botswana, DRC, Cameroon and Zambia.
It was among others, to celebrate these young Africans, for their contribution towards the growth of Africa’s digital space.
The programme, held on Friday and Saturday, was celebrated as part of the United Nations (UN) World Youth Day, describing participants as the continent’s next generation of leaders and innovators.
It was the first time an event of this kind was organized to provide opportunities for these young Africans, to network connect and create positive dialogue.
Participants were made up of what organizers called, Facebook Community Leaders, Developer Circle Leads, entrepreneurs, SMBs, as well as future change makers, from the Africa Leadership University (ALU).
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the event, Head of Communication for Sub-Saharan African, Kezia Anim-Addo said, it was exciting to have brought together these achievers, who are making waves in their respective communities and countries.
According to Kezia, Facebook, thought it wise to celebrate the young Africans, for the impact they are making with their individual work, talent, business and innovation.
She said, the work of these people, which are advertised on facebook, are contributing to the growth and building the future that everyone would be proud of. She said that this year’s event though first, will not be the last hoping it will be organized annually.
“It was about bringing all these different people together to celebrate them and the impact they are having on the continent so we know that these guys are the future and we know that, every single person in that, room is doing something to better their country and the continent”, she said.
To qualify for the programme, one has to be a youth (18-35 years) and must have that kind of relationship that has helped develop themselves as innovators, business owners and so on.
A Deputy Minister of Communication in-charge of Cyber Security, Infrastructure, Innovation, Data Protection, and Technology, Vincent Sowah Odotei, congratulated Facebook for the initiative, to bring the youth from across the country to celebrate them and to share ideas to encourage and empower themselves to continue to work harder for themselves and the continent.
He said, the digital age has provided opportunities for the youth to explore the yet to be tapped areas to create jobs and transform the world which keeps changing. Mr Sowah Odotei, said with the rapidly changing technological world, the youth stand a better of achieving a lot and exploring for their development.
According to the Deputy Minister, the current crop of youth, need to be giving the right foundation, through the basic education, to enhance their literacy adding it was in line of this that government of President Akufo-Addo saw the need to impalement the free senior high school programme for all children at the senior high level.
Over the years, Facebook has invested heavily in empowering and supporting Africa’s future generations in harnessing their digital and creative skills for the future.
It supports and invests in various communities, including startups, developers, agencies, etc., on the continent, constantly connecting, listening and learning with communities on the ground, offering trainings and support within the Developer community etc., and this event, was a way of reinforcing it commitment in this area and to the region.