However, despite the challenges surrounding the youths of this great continent, many have made records and achieved greatness locally and internationally. African youths have impacted various sectors today, among which are the entertainment, music, and fashion industries.
A typical example is the Nigerian music industry which is ranked the second best-performing Entertainment and Media Consumer market globally.
That said, young African talents face challenges across various domains, which make most of them struggle to get to the top. The future of the youths depends largely on how they are able to break the barriers of these challenges and connect with global opportunities to reveal their potential to the world. Some of these challenges are :
Lack of funds
Lack of funds affects virtually all industries, as many African youths with innovative ideas and styles end up wasting their talents due to a lack of financial backing to showcase their talents to the world.
For instance, many young and promising talents in the entertainment industry lack funds to record high-quality songs and promote their music so that the world can appreciate their creativity. Often these talents end up performing locally and gaining local acceptance, with only a few making it to the big stage.
Similarly, in the fashion industry, lots of locally made fashion items have impressive designs and creative styles that easily "wow" anyone who beholds them. However, the lack of funds to refine these designs and match them with international standards makes them end up in the local stores.
Education is a very important factor that determines how far any young talent can go in the international space. With proper education, it's easy to create content with a general language (English) and impress a larger audience instead of limiting oneself to your mother tongue.
Even though it's not difficult to find better lyrics crafted in one's Native language, only a few who understand the language can actually appreciate the artist's creativity. For the vast majority, they often will need someone to translate or explain the content, and in that process, creativity is lost.
With proper education, the youths can tap into global opportunities and showcase their talents in a general language, gaining wider acceptance and increasing their chances of being ranked in the biggest stages. For those limited to their native language, their audience is already confined, and their talents do not get appreciated as deserved.
Lack of awareness
There's a huge difference between education and awareness, and this difference can make a great talent emerge. Many educated young people are unaware of the opportunities in their field and end up wasting their unique talents as a result. Lack of knowledge or awareness about the opportunities in your industry can result in working too hard with only a little result to show.
However, with proper awareness, youths can harness every opportunity in their industry and make a global impact. Often, youths have raw talents that need refinement and direction to uncover their beauty. Their talents are like raw gold that needs some heating and processing to become the finished product that everyone desires.
With awareness, youths can understand what kind of style they should incorporate into their talents and the things to leave out in order to make it to the top much faster. Also, they can find the right mentor in their niches and work with them to bring out the hidden pearls of talent in them.
Yet, The Future is Bright
While the challenges listed earlier remain valid, we see a regression in its trends as more Africans are beginning to break the barriers with various digital opportunities. One such opportunity is social media.
Today, even with very little capital and almost no external financial backing, the youths are making an impact and gaining local and international fans, thanks to social media. With only a smartphone and some free apps, anyone can create impressive content or fashion graphics and get hundreds of thousands of likes and shares. Often, these youths meet sponsors and talent builders through this simple action and get most of the financial backing they need to take their talents to the peak.
Their abilities to display creativity with minimum resources and the availability of platforms like social media have helped eliminate lots of barriers and are giving them a global audience.
Youths are easily overcoming their lack of awareness by using search engines and social media platforms to find out opportunities around them, and some also take online lessons to refine their English language skills and position themselves for greater opportunities.
For this reason, many believe that the future for African youths is bright, and many more are becoming hopeful rather than living in despair.