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Millennials and tech in Africa: a double-edged sword?

Posted on Wednesday, 7 December 2016 11:09

Many of today’s youth complain of high unemployment rates and wait for government employment but others have learnt to become entrepreneurs.

The Generation Y of our time are interested in new and improved ways of doings things and that has been made easier thanks to technology.

These days, you do not need to have any professional training to start a small business. Thanks to YouTube, one can easily learn some skills and get things going.

Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are the newest ways of engaging in youth activism. I easily recall the #Dumsormuststop vigil that was held last year by some celebrities in the country.

This was to draw President John Mahama’s attention to the suffering Ghanaians were experiencing as a result of the country’s power crisis.

I believe we have become more discerning and want to hold our leaders accountable and technology provides the means to do so.

I was elated when Uber was introduced in Accra in June this year. This easily comes as an extra source of income to households.

In Accra, youth in tech are partaking in tech competitions and developing very impressive applications that make life easier in this bustling city.

This is the positive wind of change that technology has brought to us. But there are worrisome trends that need attention.

There is a rapid increase in sports betting along the length and breadth of the country. It has escalated to an extent that pupils bet with their school fees and play truant. This quick moneymaking enterprise causes so much euphoria among these unemployed younglings.

Online prostitution has become commonplace. With the help of a smartphone and internet service, hookups are so easy. Credit-card fraud is also prevalent.

Would we be more content if our youth engaged more in politics or civil society organisations to ensure that they are taking charge of their future rather than making cheap and quick money?

Maybe, but man must survive so I do not blame them much. We all owe it to ourselves to ensure that our fellow millennials become more productive using the resources at our disposal. No need to wait. We must take charge now.

Selasi Attipoe, public servant, Ghana

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