Staying ahead of the curve: Post-pandemic youth challenge

The unrelenting post-pandemic curve of skills for the digital economy

A flattening but a potentially resurgent curve

Its resurgent wave and yet-to-be-discovered surprises aside, the COVID-19 global pandemic seems to have had its first ferocious wave ebbed. This fact seems to hold true at least for this time of the year, September 2020. By September 16, 2020, the global cases had reached almost 30 million with Africa topping 1.36 million cases. The recovery rate in Africa has exceeded 81% while the global average has topped 72%. The case fatality rate in Africa of 2.4% was below the global average of 3.2%. Kenya had topped 36,000 cases but still had a recovery rate of 64% with a case fatality rate of 1.7%.

Into September, India seemed to be the top country exemplifying an obviously exponential trajectory. It has overtaken Brazil in total confirmed cases, becoming second only to the USA. The model adopted in this series had predicted that India would hit 5 million COVID-19 cases on September 14, which came out to be 3% more than the actual number confirmed on that date. If India’s COVID-19 cases continue rising exponentially at the earlier daily rate of 2.2%, then the model predicts the possibility of India hitting 6 million cases by September 23, 2020.

The necessity of reopening schools amidst structural digital discrimination

There is now growing convergence on the compelling need to reopen all sectors including schools, which have been at the epicentre of ambivalent sensitivity and caution. In Kenya, IBD’s recent survey of public opinions on the sequence of reopening various sectors of the economy returned the following graph of weighted priorities. It can be seen that schools came last in this priority ranking.

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Evidently, education has been among the worst-hit sectors and the effects will be felt for a long time since school calendars have been disrupted by more than six months. The situation has been more severe for the majority of learners in the underdeveloped rustic regions, which have been shoved to the wrong side of the digital divide to bear the burden of structural digital discrimination.

The unrelenting post-pandemic curve of skills for the digital economy

COVID-19 has made curves and models an integral part of daily phraseology. As the COVID curve flattens, the curve of demand for resilience and skills for the digital economy is just starting its fast-rising phase with a borderless sovereignty that spells a watershed moment for the youth in a dynamic global technology marketplace. Post COVID-19, a mastery of digital skills is no longer going to be just an added advantage, but an essential element in the compound of qualifications youth need for sustainable competitiveness.

To ponder the coping strategies together with original ideas from the youth themselves, IBD has scheduled the 5th virtual forum on “Education 4.0: Post-pandemic Skills to Stay ahead of the Curve” to take place on September 22, 2020, 11:00–12:00 EAT. The details will be posted on

The focus of the next youth forum

The post-pandemic job market should be exciting for the youthful demographic as competition for skills and talents becomes increasingly globalised and digitalisation continues to lower the barriers to entry into the digital economy. The gig economy is expanding with increasing democratisation.

The youth forum will feature a guest speaker from South Africa, a young Konrad Adenauer Foundation Scholar in the Economic Diplomacy Programme at The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA). Key lessons on coping strategies for the youth will be part of the interactive session. Education and lifelong skills development will be a key area of focus.

The Founder of IBD, Nashon Adero, will share key lessons on his work with the youth before and during the pandemic as well as his key experience as a mentor under Kenya’s Presidential Digital Talent Programme. As a curtain-raiser, here are some key quotes stemming from his experience and advice on lifelong skills development for remaining competitive in a globalised job market. The quotes match the core values of IBD, which are diligenceexcellence, and intergenerational responsibility.

§ Effective living and leadership is an art of balancing out trade-offs, the discipline of sacrificing yesterday’s tempting comfort to reap tomorrow’s compounded comfort as you cultivate a better version of you.

§ Post COVID-19, the youth must advance their curiosity about thought-provoking questions on how to ignite their creative genius to foster productive collaborations on all fronts and deliver a better post-pandemic world.

§ COVID-19 draws us to a point of stillness and silence for a reset and restart. A silence dedicated to active listening is liberating, but a silence that quietly ignores lessons only feeds ignorance.

Follow the updates on IBD website to register for the upcoming youth forum and be an active participant in shaping a transformative post-pandemic future for the youth.

Nashon J. Adero

Nashon, a geospatial expert, lecturer and trained policy analyst applies dynamic models to complex adaptive systems. He is a youth mentor on career development and the founder of Impact Borderless Digital.