Africa's enormous potentials and capacity to become one of the world's most innovative centers for trade and technology continue to remain hidden in plain sight as a result of the huge vacuum caused by lack of quality basic education. This has led to a spectrum of societal dysfunctions that has denied communities and citizens across the continent opportunities to lead better lives. In the grand scheme of things, Africa is been regarded as a demography made up of many third world countries lacking in basic social amenities, poor standard of living and a growing army of uneducated citizens especially those categorized as the youth population.
The statistics in this regard leaves room for great concern. It has been reported that Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rate of education exclusion and over one-fifth of children between the ages of about 6 and 11 are out of school, followed by one-third of youths between the ages of 12 and 14. According to US data, almost 60% of youth between 15 and 17 are not in school. In some communities, these out-of-school children become victims of child labour, human trafficking, early marriage while some become useful vessels for terrorism and brigandage driven by religious extremism. Where there is an abject lack of education, inhabitants of such communities engage in petty trade for basic sustenance. The volume of trade is low and as a result the standard of living in such a community is evidently below standard.
For Africa to improve her indices across all spheres of socioeconomic development, she must begin to prioritize the education of her citizens. Government across all African nation states must constitutionally enforce and protect the rights of her young citizens to quality basic education. Government must devote a healthy percentage of its annual budgetary allocation to develop an upwardly mobile and industrially relevant curriculum, build schools and laboratories and employ highly trained teachers and vocational skills instructors. These efforts would incredibly result into raising an educated workforce that would actively contribute to improving the nation's per capita income as they engage in large scale commercial activities, production of commodities to service local demand using modern technology and the creation of a skill economy capable of attracting foreign exchange earnings and direct investments.
For us at the Power of Africa, we are committed to playing a crucial role in drawing the attention of the relevant local authorities to this very important societal need called basic education. We believe that a new Africa can be birthed as soon as there is a will to adequately invest in the education of our countrymen, develop a policy framework that allows for private sector participation to support government efforts and ensure that education is available and affordable for all and sundry.