African governments urged to facilitate young people tap benefits of social media

Governments in Africa have been told to facilitate young people to be able to enjoy the benefits of the various social media platforms.

The call was made by experts at the annual AfricaCom Technology conference that concluded recently in Cape Town South Africa.

 John Omo, the secretary general of the African Telecommunications Union (ATU), said it is a pity that some governments in Africa want to limit youths from accessing social media yet they can help them tap its benefits.

“Governments need policies that enable young people generate social media content that helps them generate income. Governments should build an enabling pipeline (infrastructure and environment) while the young people manage the water (monetised content) that flows in it,” Omo said.

Experts have constantly said that social media has the potential to boost the incomes of young people, who spend a sizable amount of their time online every day.

Many young people are already earning large sums of money by posting videos to platforms like YouTube and TikTok thereby easing on the burden of unemployment.

Omo said one of the ways governments in Africa can help the youth is by helping them generate content which can be monetized.

Dr Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister of ICT and National Guidance, who attended the conference said government was looking at ways of helping young people benefit from social media.

“Our governments inherited colonial systems and the laws sometimes are not enabling information sharing. A lot of information is in ministries but the laws allow only certain technocrats to release such information, that is why it is not always smooth, but the Access to Information Act is curing that,” he said.

He said they were working on reducing the cost of internet.

It is estimated that 2.8 million Ugandans are on social media, with about 60% of the population having mobile phone connectivity.

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