A series of Microsoft Leadership Lectures, introduced by Dr Cheick Modibo Diarra, the chairman for Microsoft’s African operations, aim to help promote debate among Africa’s youth about the future prosperity of the continent.
The lectures will bring a number of prominent African thought leaders to universities across the African region to speak about socio-political issues in order to ignite a renewed passion amongst the African youth.
“We are hoping to plant the seed that will help the next generation of African leaders put the well-being of the continent and its people at the top of their list of priorities,” says Dr Diarra.
“We need to give the future leaders of Africa a platform to bring their own ideas about how they see the continent progressing into the future and find ways to make this progression a reality.”
The first lecture will kick off at the Badalabougou Campus of the University of Bamako, Mali, and will be based on a book called “Africa 2025: What possible futures for Sub-Saharan Africa?” authored by Dr Alioune Sall of the Institute for African Futures.
“We will give the attendees the opportunity to debate amongst themselves and bring suggestions and ideas to the table about how to affect the future direction of the continent,” says Dr Sall.
“There are a number of possible futures that could face Africa, and there are a number of different issues and variables that could have an effect on which future the continent decides to head towards,” he adds.
“Africa does not have to sit around and accept whatever fate it is handed,” Dr Diarra says. “With its relatively young population, rich wealth of resources and sheer land-mass, Africa is well positioned to become a serious economic centre worldwide.”
Although there are a number of variables that can have an effect on which “future” Africa embraces as its own, the role of technology in helping the continent realise its full potential on a global scale is most certainly one common influencer across these various potential futures.
Using economies of scale, technology can help governments and businesses operate more affordably and more efficiently. Technology also transforms education, making it more accessible and easy to distribute to even the remotest area with some time and effort invested.
Africa has a lot to gain from an enlightened youth. The combination of the attendees’ intellectual involvement and the in-depth research conducted by Dr Sall and his team is sure to stimulate some very good debate and hopefully spark some even better ideas for Africa’s future.
“It is possible that the actions of one person can have a dramatic and exponential effect on millions of others,” Dr Sall says. “We’re very excited to see what effects this series of leadership lectures is going to have on the potential futures of Africa.”