Leaders and business magnates that attended the Africa 2017 Investment forum in  Egypt advocated for innovative technologies and enhancing the role of the youth in driving the African continent into the 4th industrial revolution.

During a panel discussion titled “The 4th Industrial Revolution; Creating future jobs” held on the margins of the conference in Sharm el Sheikh, political and business leaders acknowledged the continents comparative advantage as its youthful population and the fast adoption of the innovative technologies.

In his statement at the panel, Secretary General of COMESA Sindiso Ngwenya, urged governments in Africa to involve the youths in all development activities and agendas in the various sectors.

“It is the youth who shall remain to implement the same projects being initiated by the older generation”, he said. “For us to be part of the 4th Industrial revolution, policy makers and governments should not ignore this change because the people who shall pioneer this revolution are the youths who are born in the technology era,” he added.

Mr Ngwenya observed the need for re-evaluating the education curriculum and concentrating more on skills rather than theories, as this affects the job requirements.

“The days when students depended on classrooms to get knowledge about specific fields are gone because they are now able to go to the internet and learn various skills using online applications,” he said.

With technology and the associated software, he said, the youths can produce products using computer aided design software contrary to the assertions that this can only be done in a workshop. He urged governments to introduce industrial design studios in schools for students to learn and practice the production of various products using modern technologies.

The Africa 2017 conference was organized by the Government of Egypt with collaboration of the COMESA Regional Investment Agency under the theme “Business for Africa, Egypt and the world.” It was held from 7 to 9 December 2017.

Head of States, governments and ministries from various African countries as well as representatives of Egypt’s development partners and high-level figures in the business field from Egypt, Africa attended the conference.

Other panelists included H.E. Cheick Modibo Diarra, former Transitional Prime Minister for Mali, Rt. Hon. Mark Simmonds, former Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister, from the United Kingdom, Mustafa Abdel-Wadood, Managing Partner and Global Head of Private Equity at Abraaj Capital, United Arab Emarite, Isao Sekiguchi, Chairman and Managing Director for Nissan in North Africa and Kibirou Mbodje, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Wari, Senegal and France.