Giving African youth a platform kickstarts innovation, grows economies and improves livelihoods

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, 18 October 2023 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Young people in Africa are standing on the cusp of a transformative era. To tackle the pressing socio-economic challenges that lie ahead, creating platforms for young people has never been more critical. Corporations are stepping up to the plate, recognising the immense value of partnering with youth initiatives across the continent to boost and empower young people. This shift is proving fruitful, and a study by Deloitte done in 2020 confirms that, stating that collaborative efforts between businesses and non-profits have the potential to drive positive social impact, addressing critical issues like education, healthcare, and poverty alleviation. Engagement on this potential is necessary, both as a reflection of what is being done on the ground, and a reminder of what a meeting of minds can facilitate.

Engage Africa’s Youth Demographic

Africa boasts the world’s youngest population, with over 60% of its people under the age of twenty-five. The United Nations, projects that by 2050, Africa’s youth population will double. This burgeoning youth demographic presents a unique opportunity for governments and businesses to boost economic growth in both the short and long term. Beyond that growth, brands that intentionally and authentically engage today’s youth are investing in their future: their customer base, talent base and potential partners.

Access to Knowledge and Support

Access to education and information remains a challenge in many African countries. Limited opportunities in skills development and critical knowledge often hinder young people’s progress. Partnering with youth initiatives that have an impact can bridge this gap. From offering resources to delivering mentorship coaching, and educational support, businesses can empower youth with the tools they need to thrive. This approach fulfils social responsibility and lays the foundation for future market growth and talent pool determination.

Fostering Participatory Engagement

Young people today, as in many generations before, are eager to assert their voice and participate in meaningful dialogue about societal issues. Brands that facilitate platforms for that engagement have a greater impact on youth development and deliver social good – because it is in young people that solutions to our issues today exist. Beyond that, participatory engagement empowers young people and fosters a sense of ownership in addressing critical issues. Edison Research’s “The Infinite Dial 2021” mentions podcast listenership as strong among the 18-34 age group, quoting 41% of them being monthly podcast consumers. And businesses will do good by making such platforms a possibility for young people to engage unmediated.

The Power of Collaboration

In East and Southern Africa, Nestlé has taken a proactive approach through the Nestlé Needs Youth programme. In partnership with East Africa-based Youth Connekt Africa Hub, the two organisations have championed a dynamic platform to empower African youth. The result? “Iron Sharpens Iron,” a thought-provoking podcast series where young people talk to each other, and share experiences and ideas on how to navigate a rapidly changing socio-economic landscape. The series consists is five episodes, and features youth from across the continent such as agripreneur, Fellistus Sekgale from South Africa, and Malawian earth scientist, Rachel Kaunda. These budding young minds have robust conversations on issues such as employment and employability, agripreneurship, ecopreneurship, youth skills development, and innovation and digitisation. In each episode, two distinct voices from across the continent deep dive into chosen topics and they share their points of view in an enriching discussion.

Iron Sharpens Iron was purposefully designed to be for youth, by youth, with youth, across the African continent. The podcast’s conversations directly address young people’s unique needs and aspirations, grounded in data research and lived experiences, offering tangible insights into the challenges young Africans face.

The power of such alliances as this empowers youth to address pressing issues, together, unmediated. It is in these spaces, that innovation thrives. You can access all five (5) episodes on the YouthConnekt Africa YouTube channel or on RSS and other major podcast streaming platforms.

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Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Nestlé East and Southern Africa Region.

About Nestlé 

Nestlé is the world’s largest food and beverage company. It is present in 187 countries around the world, and its 291,000 employees are committed to Nestlé’s purpose of unlocking the power of food to enhance quality for everyone, today and for generations to come. Nestlé offers a wide portfolio of products and services for people and their pets throughout their lives. Its more than 2,000 brands range from global icons like Nescafé or Nespresso to local favourites like Ricoffy. Company performance is driven by its Nutrition, Health, and Wellness strategy. Nestlé is based in the Swiss town of Vevey where it was founded more than 150 years ago.


Nestlé East and Southern African Region (ESAR)

Rosalie Ambrose 

Tel: 079 526 8518

Email: Rosalie.ambrose@za.Nestlé.com

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Source : African Media Agency (AMA)