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    Framework for Seminar Series Curriculum: Tackling Radicalisation Through Prevention Education, Teaching Digital Skills, and Entrepreneurship Education

    by Olivia Glowacka 11/07/2019 12:09 PM GMT

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          Acknowledging that some of the most complex issues within cybersecurity include the radicalisation of the younger generations through leveraging digital methods and communication, we have decided to tackle this issue. Our solution is based on establishing the framework for a seminar series that would be implemented in social centres, high schools, and universities on the continent of Africa; specifically in African nations that are more susceptible to the spread of terrorism by radical groups such as Boko Haram. The foundations of our curriculum would include initially implementing prevention education by educating attendees about the early signs and negative effects of radicalisation. This will, then, be combined with seminars teaching digital skills including, for instance: the foundations of Blockchain and Big Data analysis. The last several sessions will consist of entrepreneurial education, encouraging young Africans to implement the skills they have learned towards finding innovative cybersecurity-related solutions to fighting terrorism, or in general, entrepreneurial ideas that will benefit the society of the region. Partnering with well-funded universities, African venture capital firms, and other strategic partners, the attendees of our seminar series will be eligible to access a micro-fund and pool of local and regional mentors to further develop their endeavours.


          In 2015, the World Economic Forum declared entrepreneurship as "the key to development in Africa." Due to the lack of resources along the region, Africans are naturally inclined to reuse and repurpose available items for new uses. This imbeds an entrepreneurial spirit into millions of Africans which when combined with a need for survival, can bring about incredible results. Past examples of this can be seen through mobile money platforms, M-Pesa in Kenya and Paga in Nigeria; both of which worked to solve the issue of lack of financial services in their respective nations. These successful apps aid in transferring and micro-financing through text, helping in financial mobility and financing the foundations for millions to begin their own businesses.

          In general, over 30% of the population of the region is between 15 and 27, with a major percentage of this sub-demographic being unemployed, entrepreneurship can be an incredible option for them to create employment opportunities for themselves and others in the same age range. One organization that is attempting to make entrepreneurship an advantageous route for African youth is the Tony Elumelu Foundation. This foundation launched its decade-long $100 million pan-African Entrepreneurship Programme in order to establish entrepreneurship and sustaining it for the next centuries to follow. The foundation solely focuses on identifying and growing already existing startups with goals of growing 10,000 African startups, creating over a million new jobs, and producing $10 BN in yearly revenue. As we can see that the foundation has already had success in its last years, it is interesting to view how a similar initiative can be established, but one that more so focusing on providing the educational resources for the youth to start-up a company, especially one focused on tackling terrorism and other cyber-security issues, instead of just investing in already established ones in random sectors. 

          Entrepreneurship has been deemed as one of few possible method to solving complex issues, therefore, we can attempt to leverage it in the fight against terrorism in the region of Africa. A past example of this could be seen through the Annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit in 2016 which took place in the Silicon Valley. This was one of the events that President Obama utilised amidst the collapse of Libya and Syria and rise of ISIL. Obama tried to tackle the approaching threat of terrorism, specifically in Arab states, through attempting to spur entrepreneurship overseas; many U.S. embassies now offer startup training and numerous U.S. officials try to encourage other countries to develop more business-friendly environments. The main attempt to tackling terrorism through entrepreneurship by the United States has been through an annual entrepreneurship conference, hosted always in an Arab or Muslim capital. If President Obama believes that Islamic terrorism could be halted through encouraging entrepreneurship among the Arab youth, then it is advantageous to also attempt something similar for youth in a variety of African countries which are also targeted by groups like Al Shabaab, Al Quaida, and the Lord's Resistance Army, among others. 

          Our Mission and Vision:

          Promote the elimination of threat of terrorism in the region of Africa by the development of anti-terrorism and cybersecurity solutions. This will be done by educating young Africans about the threats of terrorist combined with providing them with digital skills and entrepreneurship foundations. 

          Key Resources:*

          • Partnerships with top African VCs including AfricInvest - Tunisia, Prosus Ventures - South Africa, Consonance Investment Managers - Nigeria, EchoVC Partners - Nigeria, Innoventures - Egypt, Edge Growth - South Africa, GroFin - Mauritius, Silvertree Internet Holdings - South Africa, Algebra Ventures - Egypt, GrowthHub - Kenya, and more

          • Mentorship pool with local entrepreneurs and regional leaders, examples include: entrepreneurship / technology / design thinking professors, venture partners from African VC partners, local policy-makers, cyber-security experts, C-level executives and founders of top companies operating in the region, and more

          • Partnerships with top universities with technology and business programs including  University of Cape Town, American University of Cairo, Stellenbosch University, and University of Kwazulu-Natal

          • Access to government grants and innovative-focused grants from banks and other institutions 

          • Utilising public spaces and high schools in African cities with not as much developed universities, but with a large threat of terrorism among them, especially within the nations of Uganda, Somalia, Nigeria, and more

          Overview of Curriculum:* **

          Session I. - "Spotting the Early Attempts of Radicalisation"

          Session II. - "Lifelong Individual Effects of Terrorism"

          Session III. - "Foundations of Cybersecurity; Addressing Trends and Government Responses On the Continent" - based on The African Union Commission and Symantec's report as part of the Global Forum for Cybersecurity Expertise (GFCE) Initiative 

          Session IV. - "Tech Trends of Today; Global and African"

          Session V. - "Deep-diving into the Business Model Canvas"

          Session VI. - "Lean Startup Method Specifically for Cyber-Security and Anti-Terrorism Innovations"

          Additional Sessions - "Mentorship Sessions, Micro-fund Info Session, and Practicing Digital Skills Sessions"


          *: Please note that we do not have relations with any of the specific partners, proposed professors, or institutions listed. We have simply added them as an example of what/ who they could be if the curriculum was actually established in the continent. 

          **: Curriculum outline subject to change, especially considering that high schools and public centres might not have access to obtaining the full curriculum that universities will be able to due to lack of resources or lack of need for as in-depth curriculum. 

          Co-authors to your solution

          Cynthia Turbides, Angelika Tracz

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