AU and Econet elevate inspire the youth

7 March 2018
On the 7th of March 2018, Econet’s Elevate Youth Programme in partnership with Africa University launched the Elevate Youth i5 Club which will serve as a branch of the Elevate programme that will be a student-led and student driven initiative where innovations, ideas, experiences and strategies are transferred and supported by Econet Wireless, Zimbabwe’s largest privately owned mobile network operator.

The launch of the club signifies a turning point in youth empowerment by actively creating a space for the youth to harness their creativity and bring their ideas into fruition through the use of AU’s state of the art i5 hub.

Vice Chancellor Professor Munashe Furusa said that the launch signifies the bold and conscious decision of AU to become the hub of advanced technology and knowledge generation within Africa and the region. Speaking of the partnership between AU and Econet, VC Furusa said,

“Our partnership with Elevate and Econet is borne out of common interest in inspiring the future of Africa, the youth. The partnership is inspired by the renewed optimism and confidence taking over Africa. More than half of Africa’s population is comprised of the youth and now is the time to reach and elevate them. Thank you Elevate for choosing us as your partners as we share a common vision to afford opportunities to all.”

Econet Chief Operations Officer, Mr. Fayaz King who graced the occasion emphasized that innovation and youth empowerment are two passions that he holds dear and the Elevate initiative is one that he and his dynamic team are fully behind. Quoting Nelson Henderson, he said,

“The youth are the future and a society grows wise when those who have come before plant trees in whose shade they know they will never sit under. Today we are planting trees and the shade is the innovations that you the youth will bring. We aim to design the future and create it in the image that we want it to be.”
He went on to add, “Innovation is everything. You need to disrupt and find new ways of doing things. The job as we know and understand it is gone. The old ways of looking at employment have changed. The trend now is to create opportunities for the youth so that they can be empowered and in turn empower others through employment creation.”

Elaborating on why Africa University in particular was selected to host and partner Econet in the prestigious launch, Mr. King said,

“We chose Africa University because we believe that the talent, innovation and ideas are here. You (the youth) will be the pioneers to drive this new way of thinking.”

From Left - Prof. Furusa, Mr. King, Mr. Njonga

Built around five pillars, Ideation, Incubation, Innovation, Intellectual Property and Industrialization and established in September 2017, the AU i5 Hub is a response to the needs of thousands of graduates and enterprising Zimbabweans who are in need of a space that will allow them the opportunity to bring their most innovative, creative and best ideas to be refined, incubated and transformed into business enterprises. The first of its kind anywhere in Zimbabwe and equipped with the latest technological support, the i5 Hub is geared towards solving a wide range of the country and the continent’s most challenging problems.


Story By: Jeanette Dadzie
Edited by: Tsitsi Kanonge