Innovation & education key to growth – Masiyiwa

Dr. Strive Masiyiwa with Yale University President, Prof. Peter Salovey

Dr. Strive Masiyiwa, founder of Econet and the Higherlife Foundation has said innovation and education are key to building a successful growth process.

Speaking at a forum in Accra on ‘Education and Partnership’ organised by the Higherlife Foundation and Yale University, the celebrated businessman and media-giant asked educationists to create avenues wherein businesses can train students on what to expect in the corporate world – before they are churned out to take up positions they are only conversant with in theoretical terms.

“Businesses must be allowed into our universities to share ideas with the students, tell them what is on the ground; we have graduates who are frustrated when they enter the corporate world because they have been learning things from elsewhere,” he said.

Mr. Masiyiwa added that young people must challenge the knowledge-based growing economy by leveraging their knowledge to create more opportunity for the next generation, as there are 250 million people in the world who own smartphones – and this number is estimated to go up to 500 million in the next few years.

“We don’t have to wait till there’s the perfect laptop to have the best education; we can start small. It isn’t about the equipment, it is about having an active engagement; no more passive engagement in education, but rather an active one that shares ideas. It begins with our participation in educating our kids, whether at home or anywhere else,” he said.

Addressing the theme on Education, President of Ashesi University Dr. Patrick Awuah said the core mandate of education is to imbue ethics, innovation and leadership into students. These ethics are born out of a sense of responsibility, whereby students think outside the box and strive to find solutions to many problems.Hence, leadership comes through learning to build and share as well as create.

On the issue of gender, CEO of Junior Achievement Africa Elizabeth Elango Bintliff stated that there is a need for young women to hear different narratives about the female gender.

“The narrative society tells young girls must change; it must be around ambition and making a change. Fathers need to validate their daughters in such a way that it leaves a mark so that these daughters push to succeed,” she said.

The Town Hall meeting held at the University of Ghana’s Great Hall was in line with an extension of the programme between the Higherlife Foundation and Yale University’s Yale Young African Scholars Programme (YAAS) – from its initial three years to five years.

The programme, brings together young Africans who learn from Yale faculty and students,

and in turn become part of a mentorship network paired with local partner-organisations.

The Town Hall meetings will be replicated in other African countries.