THE African Development Bank says it has invested $1,6 billion in programmes to prepare youth careers in science, technology and innovation in Africa in the past 15 years.
“Putting youth at the centre of Africa’s inclusive economic growth agenda is at the forefront of AfDB’s investments and its “High 5s —building businesses, feeding the continent, expanding power and integration, and improving the quality of life for the people across the continent by preparing youth for today’s competitive digital world,” said the bank.
As the world moves towards a fourth industrial revolution, the regional bank believes demand for digitisation across health, education, and other sectors are on the rise.
“Digital innovations have the power to solve the continent’s development challenges and are generating new job opportunities. The youth population is rapidly growing and by 2050 is expected to double to over 830 million.
“Yet, the digital divide in Africa persists and critical skills gaps pose serious challenges to youth securing quality and decent work in a rapidly changing workforce,” it said.
In March this year, Zimbabwe launched a national ICT policy and a $25 million innovation fund, which was aimed at creating the country’s own technology hub and promoting local budding innovators.
The Innovation Drive fund was first announced in 2016 and is funded by contributions from the telecommunication companies in the country.
Meanwhile, the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) is set to avail infrastructure value chain financing facility to promote economic development in the country.
IDBZ says the overall objective of the facility is to enhance the capacity of key players in the infrastructure value chain to improve their effectiveness and efficiency in their operations.
“The specific objectives of the facility are to provide working capital and capital expenditure or asset finance players in the infrastructure value chain.
“To support players in the infrastructure value chain by providing bank guarantees as well as providing advisory services to players in the infrastructure value chain,” it said.
Public enterprises and private entities such as members of the Zimbabwe Building Contractors Association and the Construction Industry Federation of Zimbabwe are eligible to secure funding under the infrastructure value chain financing facility.
“Eligible or qualifying projects support will be rendered to players in the energy, water and sanitation, housing, transport and Information Communication Technology sectors,” said IDBZ.
“Eligible activities include ICT backbone infrastructure, base stations, mobile money transfer platforms, equipment and related materials as well as maintenance and construction of roads, rail and airport, water and sewer reticulation.”