Chuma Casius' Speech

The AYF Youth Award focusing on how ICTs Could help the young generation to create jobs and eradicate, couldn’t have come at an opportune time than this, considering the unemployment and poverty levels prevailing in the third world, of which Africa is part. It is therefore great honour and privilege for me to be associated with this development oriented initiative and to be ranked as one the best winners of this prestigious award. I feel it is time a lasting solution to the plight of the African Youth is sought. Young people in Africa have always been victims of socio-economic challenges such as unemployment, poverty, HIV/AIDS to mention but a few. It is therefore incumbent upon the young people to rise to the challenge and correct the situation for the benefit of today and tomorrow’s generation. The mention of Africa should cease to be synonymous with poverty and misery.

Agriculture like many other development avenues is a promising remedy for Africa’s poverty and employment situation. The rural and urban population may both rely on agriculture for their food needs, but the former’s dependency on agriculture is much more as it is their main source of livelihoods. However engaging in agriculture is one thing, “making silver out it” is another. The challenge that comes with the whole undertaking is immense. Information and means of communicating and accessing the information is crucial if one is to succeed in agriculture, given the present environment. Information on best farming practices, markets, source of inputs and implements, commodity prices, weather conditions and any information required by farmers could be available but accessibility is the question.

In most cases the format in which information is stored is prohibitive making access very difficult. Therefore the complimentary role of ICTs in meeting the farmer’s information needs can not be over emphasized. ICTs have the potential to promote knowledge development not only by providing more information but by providing it more selectively and in a format that is easy to understand.

It is important to note that we are now living in a world of globalization and liberalized market systems, where information is really “power”. But not everyone has access to information and tools that make access to information easy. Therefore with available resources at my disposal I would devote my energies and time to undertakings that will facilitate and promote development, access to information, information sharing and appreciation of the role of ICTs in livelihoods improvement among the young people in Africa. Whist in my youth I want to contribute to Africa renaissance. Its only us the youth of Africa who can change Africa.

Chuma Casius