I write about technology, media and societies.

Youth, Technology and Development; The Way to go – A Report on the 2017 World Bank Youth Summit

The event I went for was a two days event by the World Bank on “Youth Summit for Technology and Innovation for Impact”. The event featured many industry experts from both inside and outside of world Bank while it also runs different workshop in parallel depending on what the interest of the participants are. As a topping, the event presented six startups for an impact that are solving social issues with the use of technology out of which they were picked from 528 total proposals received from 100 countries.

The first day of the event witnessed many fascinating discussions from different leaders who talk about different things from how rapid technological changes are revolutionizing the future of jobs & skills to how technology is affecting the job markets and how the people from developing countries can be prepared for this shifts that technology has caused over the years.

From the welcoming remark discussion and subsequent discussions for the first day, the most significant takeaways are as below;

  1. Once tech becomes affordable and ubiquitous, businesses get creative and solve different problems
  2. When we improve access, people will use technology to do what they care about, and young people are solution focused as they tend to use whatever tools available to them to solve the challenges they are interested in.
  3. Young people care about their communities, and whenever they come together, they solve their own problems.
  4. When you give young people the tools and resources and support to do the things they care about, the number one thing they care about is the world around them.
  5. Investing in young people is vital as we seek a better future.
  6. Rosa Hudnell, VP of corporate affairs at Intel and President of Intel Foundation encourage young people who are privileged to mentor other young people.
  7. To be a change maker, leaders have to see the world through the eyes of others as you cannot lead a diverse team without living a diverse life.
  8. No matter how much AI takes over, we still need humans. The machine will help us in analyzing data, but the network of people will continue to drive the economy and our quality of lives.

While talking about the way technology has revolutionized the way we work, Aaron Smith, Associate director, research on internet and technological issues at PEW Research centers; said that while robotics takes over more data based jobs, the skills of the future remains creativity, compassion and diversity, all of which cannot be taken over by machine. David Sierra, Special Project Manager at Ruta N Medellin, said there is a need for the university, companies and people to speak the same language to move forward and create solutions that works for the people.

On a final note, the discussion was brought to a conclusion after which Alexa Roscoe, Strategy and Innovation Officer and International Finance Corporation; said Technology is changing the face of development, but over 1 billion women still do not have access to mobile phone, and she explained how the sharing economy has been helpful to empowering women by creating more opportunities for them to participate in the economy.

Just after the discussion ended, Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group discussed “youth and technology”, and he asked some very important question about how 3D printing will affect manufacturing in developing countries and he also asked the question, how can the world bank help people to become a successful entrepreneur.

During his discussion, he said we are on the verge of being able to move capital to people anywhere in the world and help them become an entrepreneur through the use of blockchain technology. He expressed that we are in a dangerous situation with health and education and countries are waiting for grants rather than investing in people. We need everyone to understand that the quality of investments in people will determine the ability to compete in future economy and the best way for countries to compete in the future is to have smart, healthy and educated people.

He further challenges youth to think about using entrepreneurship and access to capital through technology to address poverty, and he concluded by saying “young people have to push us, do not wait for us to give you permission and opportunities.”

The 2 days event is filled with nuggets from all the participants and also it presents a new way of seeing the policy direction of world bank in terms of what might likely be the change in development in the future which is obviously investment in the young people to bring about the change we require to see as the world bank group president calls for youths to help the bank and humanity to create innovations that will impact their populations.

The event promise to change people by increasing their awareness and knowledge of what future directions would be and the messages from the different participants in the event bring a clear route to what to look for regarding future development which is about capacity building and entrepreneurship.


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