I’ve been traveling to Africa regularly for more than two decades. Whenever I go, I’m struck by the huge numbers of young people I see—everywhere from the biggest cities to the remotest villages.
This is no accident. Sixty percent of Africans are under the age of 25. The median age is 19. (By comparison, in North America it’s 35.) And the number of young people in Africa is expected to grow in the decades ahead.
The other thing that always strikes me during my trips to Africa is the unbridled optimism of this young generation. Even in the face some tough health and development challenges, most of the youth I meet have a positive outlook about the future.
This is also no accident. Young people are often the most optimistic people I meet. They are ambitious. They think in innovative ways and are eager to learn the newest technologies. They are also willing to take risks. To see Africa through their eyes is to see a continent brimming with potential and opportunity.
Later this month, I’ll be in New York to talk about Africa’s future at the second annual Goalkeepers event. Ahead of the gathering, I wanted to share some of the stories of Africa’s next generation of leaders. Here is a collection of 360-degree videos about five young Africans helping to shape Africa’s future in the fields of agriculture, health, development, sports, and wildlife conservation.
They come from different countries. They speak different languages. But they are all tackling some of Africa’s toughest challenges, including fighting poverty, inequality, and hunger. Their passion for their work makes me more optimistic than ever that their generation has what it takes to help solve today’s problems and prevent tomorrow’s.