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Sunday, 24 July 2016

Microsoft Founder Bill Gates Makes A Case For Africa's Young People

Microsoft Founder Bill Gates recently spoke at the Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture in Pretoria, South Africa.  In his text, the entrepreneur/philanthropist speaks about Africa and the continent's huge potential while making a case for young people on the continent. Go here for full text and see excerpts below:

But, for me, the most important thing about young people is the way their minds work. Young people are better than old people at driving innovation because they’re not locked in by the limits of the past.

When I started Microsoft at the age of 19, computer science was a young field. We didn’t feel beholden to old notions about what computers could or should do. We dreamed about the next big thing and we scoured the world around us for the ideas and tools that would help us create it.

But it wasn’t just Microsoft. Steve Jobs was 21 when he started Apple. Mark Zuckerberg was only 19 when he started Facebook. The African entrepreneurs driving startup booms in the Silicon Savannahs from Johannesburg and Cape Town to Lagos and Nairobi are just as young in chronological age, but also in their outlook. The thousands of businesses they’re creating are already changing daily life across the continent.

The full returns will come if we can multiply this talent for innovation by the whole of Africa’s growing youth population. That depends on whether Africa’s young people, all of Africa’s young people are given the opportunity to thrive.

Nelson Mandela said, “Poverty is not natural, it is man made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.”

We are the human beings that must take action. And we have to decide now because this unique moment won’t last. We must clear away the obstacles that are standing in young people’s way so that they can seize all of their potential.

If young people are sick and malnourished, their bodies and brains will never fully develop. If they are not educated well, their minds will lie dormant. If they do not have access to economic opportunities, they will not be able to achieve their goals.

But if we invest in the right things, if we make sure the basic needs of Africa’s young people are taken care of, then they will have the physical, cognitive, and emotional resources they need to change the future. Life on this continent will improve faster than it ever has. And the inequities that have kept people apart will be erased by broad-based progress that is the very meaning of the words “living together.”

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