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eLearning: 'Africa can't wait until 2063'

By , ITWeb
Africa , 26 May 2016

eLearning: 'Africa can't wait until 2063'

A number of ministers, businessmen and education experts attending eLearning Africa conference in Cairo this week have expressed a view that the year 2063, which is a date the African Union (AU) has set for the realisation of its vision of a 'transformed continent', may be too long to wait.

Yasser ElKady, Minister of Communications and Information Technology in Egypt told the conference's opening session that Africans, particularly young people, need to feel the benefits, which the combination of technology and education can bring, within the next ten years.

"We are not going to wait until 2063," said ElKady.

Professor Ismail Serageldin, founder and Director of the Bioblioteca Alexandrina says Africans need to embrace the dawn of a new age. "There is so much we can do for a new generation and for the whole world... We cannot let the gap between us and the advanced nations continue to grow. We must translate rhetoric into action. Rhetoric, declarations, plans and targets are not equal to action."

Experts at the conference agreed that failure to accelerate the pace of change could have devastating consequences for Africa.

Charles Senkondo, Executive Director of Tanzania's Global Learning Agency says there is widespread awareness among educators, politicians and businessmen that they have to move quickly.

"We're all aware that Africa is a young continent and that soon the majority of our population will be under the age of 24. We can't afford to leave the future of 200 million young Africans to chance. Unless we invest heavily in education and training, and ensure that our young people are fully equipped to compete in the digital age, we will store up some very serious social problems for ourselves and our neighbours."

Senkondo's view was echoed by Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji, social entrepreneur and founder of RISE Networks. "56 million Africans aged 15 / 24 haven't completed primary education...," she said. "The more uneducated children Africa has, the more prisons we'll have to build."

Senkondo expanded on the role of Agenda 2063 as a guide for the continent's transformation ideals in development, education and training. "The African Union's 2063 Vision is a wonderful challenge for Africans. It has education at its heart and we all want to make it happen. Here at eLearning Africa, we're all focusing now on moving beyond ideas to implementation. There's a real willingness to collaborate and to share knowledge and experience, so that the whole of Africa can move ahead."

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