By Sethu Tshabalala
Just over two months ago, some members of the Tshwane Hub (Rivonia Pillay, Shamiso Kumbirai, Niel Wyma, Kathleen Godfrey) and I were in Nairobi, Kenya with the Global Shaper Community at the annual #SHAPEAfrica2019 conference where African hubs from over 150 countries gathered to discuss the future of youth in Africa.
The conference was focused on two main themes: The Future of Work & Education and Facilitating Mobility & Connectivity across Africa.
On our first day, we had the privilege of being at the United Nations where received a warm welcome by the Deputy President of Kenya H.E Dr William Samoei Ruto. The agenda included sessions on how to better align the needs of the jobs market with the curricula of the future and critical questions on: how can we deliver quality education in Africa while still reaching the last mile? And how do we address Africa’s infrastructural challenges to unlock the full extent of technology’s potential in the delivery of education?
On our second day, we kick started the session at a team building exercise using marshmallows and spaghetti with some hip hop in play, which truly made the conference feel more like a good time spent with friends. We then we dove deep into the future of mobility in Africa. We went into breakout sessions discussing advancing free movement across Africa including as well as the potential impact of African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA).
Later in the day, a select group of hubs had the opportunity to present to delegates projects which they have successfully implemented and how other hubs can implementation these projects serve the needs of their own communities across Africa. I was privileged to present on behalf of the Tshwane Hub the work we are doing in teaching Financial Literacy in Mamelodi, a project we have been running for the past three years.
This was my first SHAPE Africa conference and it made me realise just how large, connected and powerful the World Economic Forum Global Shaper Community is.
As a Shaper and a young South African, the greatest element of the entire experience was being surrounded by people from all over the continent who brought new ideas to what it means to be a social change agent. This continues to fuel my passion for social impact and my belief that the work of building better communities in many ways begins at an individual level.