At Davos, a Focus on Youth Unemployment and Women in Tech

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At the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, world leaders, economists, and celebrities agreed on one pressing issue: global youth unemployment ranks ahead of climate change and cyber-security as one of the greatest threats to global stability. As leaders in education for employment, we at Akilah are pleased to see that the problem rising unemployment, particularly among youth and marginalized populations, is finally getting the attention it deserves.

Coca Cola CEO Muhtar Kent noted that seventy-five million young people globally are unemployed: “If we’re not successful in creating better opportunities, I think there’s a real danger that the social peace and fabric of the world is in danger.”

It’s no surprise that entrepreneurship, one of the fastest-growing career fields for rising professionals in East Africa, presents a promising solution. Akilah launched the Entrepreneurship major after recognizing the potential of entrepreneurs to drive East Africa forward by adding jobs, developing new industries, and fostering innovation. Our students take classes in business planning and financial management, participate in experiential learning through internships and case studies, and graduate with the skills to seize new business opportunities and employ others.

The Davos Forum blog echoes our point of view: “Putting a young person to work does not mean finding them a job. In some cases, with the right investment in entrepreneurship and the encouragement to succeed, young people will create their own jobs and, in many cases, hire others. They can and will invent the next big things that change lives, lift up communities and grow economies.”

[quote]Over the next decade, nearly 1 billion women will enter the global workforce.” – Melinda Gates[/quote]

But it wasn’t just the specter of looming youth unemployment that held sway at Davos last week. Leaders noted the enormous opportunity for women’s empowerment and self-determination. Dubbed “The Third Billion” in a recent white paper by Booz & Company, one billion women are expected to enter the economic mainstream in the next decade, a force that is at least as significant as that of the billion-plus populations in both China and India.

IT skills are the undisputed currency of the 21st century — universally in high demand and integral to global job growth. The millions of girls and women in developing countries who lack the information, resources, and skills they need to be participate meaningfully in the global economy will have an immeasurable impact on poverty alleviation and economic development if empowered to contribute.

The Davos Forum blog makes a strong case that educating women and equipping them with IT skills offers a clear return on investment for society across the board — enriching families, communities, and economies. With the launch of our Information Systems major this year, Akilah continues to be a thought leader in offering actionable, market-relevant curricula not just to educate, but to place women directly into jobs in the fastest-growing sectors of the economy.

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