Fred Swaniker on inequality, opportunity, and jobs for African youth

Inequality hurts talented young people across Africa, says Fred Swaniker, founder of the African Leadership Academy.

What they need is the opportunity to work and develop as leaders, so they can transform their communities and the world.


FRED SWANIKER: I don’t believe there’s anything special in the water in Silicon Valley that creates all these innovators like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and so forth that transforms the world. What is different is that a 17-year-old kid with an idea is given a chance.

[Inequality is logo. A graphic black equal sign with an orange slash through it. #InequalityIs. Fred Swaniker, founder, African Leadership Academy. A middle-aged Ghanaian man wearing a blue suit with a white shirt and striped blue tie.]

If we’re really going to come out of poverty in Africa and eradicate this inequality, we need to create jobs more than anything else. Youth unemployment is one of the biggest problems we have on the continent. We have a young population that is growing the fastest in the world. 60% of the population in Africa is below the age of 21. We’re going to have a larger workforce than China and India by 2050. A billion people will need jobs. The young people on the continent who have the greatest potential to really bring about change are not necessarily getting access to opportunities to develop themselves and to bring their ideas and their passion to transform Africa. Everywhere across Africa, we have exceptionally talented people who have the potential to be true game changers on the continent of Africa, who can really create innovative African solutions, our next Nelson Mandela, our own Steve Jobs- innovators who can really solve our big problems for the continent. What we need to do is to find them and to develop them fully and holistically as human beings and as leaders, and then unleash their potential to really transform Africa.

[Inequality Is Logo. Join the conversation. #InequalityIs.]

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