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Why Gen Z is the driving force behind Africa’s tech advancements

Gen Z is utilising technology to address some of Africa’s most pressing issues, with a particular focus on sustainability. From renewable energy to waste management,  this trend is likely to continue.

Gen Z is leading the charge in Africa’s tech revolution.

With access to smartphones from childhood, young people have access to knowledge and information much earlier in life compared to older peers. This technological fluency lends itself to a generation on the pulse of new innovations and ideas.

As Africa continues to face new challenges, more Gen Zers are coming up with tech solutions to help in areas like the economy, health, environment, and politically.

The GSMA report estimates that there will be more than 613 million mobile phone users in Sub-Saharan Africa as of 2025. This is expected to be more than half of Africa’s population.

Africa is facing a number of challenges spurred on by corruption that have weighed down development efforts for decades.

Countries such as Kenya have taken up the mantle in teaching programming skills in both primary and secondary schools. This is hoped to produce tech professionals will fill current, high demand jobs both abroad and within the country.

In many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, access to reliable energy sources is still a major challenge.

Despite efforts to provide electricity to most households, many rural communities have no access to electricity. This halts the economy and limits quality education, affecting millions of underprivileged children.

Gen Z is making a significant impact in these areas to provide alternative and affordable sources of reliable energy. In Kenya, young entrepreneurs are developing innovative solutions in green energy.

Startups such as M-KOPA, introduced by the country’s leading telecommunication company Safaricom, are using solar-powered technologies to provide affordable and sustainable energy solutions.

This has enabled more children to study at home and helped businesses run late into the night.

Additionally, poor waste management has exacerbated environmental pollution.

The continent’s marine life has been directly affected by plastic and air pollution. Big companies have continued to dump waste in rivers that are sources of water for vulnerable communities.

Due to corruption, the companies are rarely held accountable, instead raking in billions in profit.

To address such issues, Ghanaian young entrepreneurs launched a recycling initiative known as Trashy Bags to reduce plastic waste and promote a circular economy. Trashy Bags Africa has led the way in sustainable development by collecting and recycling over 30 million plastic sachets since its inception.

These initiatives not only reduce environmental pollution but also provide employment opportunities to young people from local communities.

Gen Z continues to make a significant impact in the education sector, too.

The quality of education in numerous African countries remains below standard due to insufficient resources and outdated curriculums. However, young entrepreneurs are developing e-learning platforms and digital resources to make education more accessible and relevant in the new era.

Numerous online education platforms emerged during the pandemic to retain some normalcy in schools.

Most online platforms have been developed by Gen Zers who continue to empower vulnerable kids.

One major challenge that continues to hinder this development is lack of internet and gadgets such as mobile phones or laptops in most rural areas. This continues to disadvantage thousands of children who need to be competitive with emerging education global trends. But whom do we blame if not the government? It is the government’s duty to provide all the necessary support including learning materials for quality education.

Africa’s Gen Z focus on sustainability is not limited to startups and education. Young people are pushing for change in the corporate world, striving for green jobs and ensuring sustainability is adopted in order to secure a safe future.

Many young people are advocating for sustainable business practices, such as reducing carbon emissions and eliminating single-use plastics. Despite the continent emitting the least greenhouse gases, it is the worst impacted by climate change.

Underserved communities continue to be the worst hit by floods, drought, and health conditions which affect millions of Africans. This push for sustainability has the potential to drive economic growth.

Africa’s Gen Z deep understanding of technology is creating positive change and providing hope for a brighter future.