Kenya has urged African leaders to fully support the continent’s young innovators as a means to boost the growth of the region’s economies.
The East African nation’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on other African leaders to create a more enabling environment for young entrepreneurs to thrive by enacting more friendly policies.
Speaking via video link at an event titled the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum held in Lagos, Nigeria, Kenyatta urged the youth to be more aggressive in business and acquire more information that can enable them to succeed.
The Forum, which is one of the largest business meetings in Africa, brought together over 5,000 young entrepreneurs and representatives from government, policymakers, and the private sector. President Kenyatta said the public and private sectors must join hands to enable the youth, who are Africa’s backbone, to realise their economic potential.
The event was graced by Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo, among other regional leaders.
The Forum, which was held this week, comes at a time when Kenya is famously referred to as the ‘Silicon Savannah’, a term used to refer to the technology ecosystem in Kenya. The term is a play on Silicon Valley and the grassland savanna ecosystem that is a dominant feature of Kenya’s ecology. Kenya is known for producing fast growing social enterprises, which have become drivers of economic growth.
In this regard, Kenyatta reiterated that that young people are driving the development of the new class of entrepreneurs that African countries need to prosper.
“Young, innovative African leaders are fighting for positive change and using technology to enhance education and solve problems presented by poor services, lack of infrastructure, and in some areas in the continent, political stagnation,” he explained.
At the same time, the Head of State hosted 20 young entrepreneurs affiliated to Nailab, an indigenous Kenyan innovation incubation centre, who briefed him on their activities. The President encouraged the young entrepreneurs to be more aggressive and to seek more knowledge to help them take advantage of the existing economic opportunities.