By Adedapo Adesanya
There is the need to urgently address the level of educational development and skill development in Africa, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has said.
In its African Economic Outlook 2020 report, the lender called for swift actions on parts of governments to address human capital development on the continent, stressing that the quantity and quality of human capital were lower than in other regions of the world.
The AEO report also noted the urgency for capacity building and offers several policy recommendations, which include more investment in education and infrastructure to reap the highest returns in long-term GDP growth.
It also suggested the development of a demand-driven productive workforce to meet industry needs so that the continent can catch up with the technological advances in the world.
“Africa needs to build skills in information and communication technology and in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution will place increasing demands on educational systems that are producing graduates versed in these skills,” the report noted.
Making recommendations on human capital, the report noted that to tackle the current level of unemployment, Africa needs to create 12 million jobs every year, adding that with rapid technological change expected to disrupt labour markets further, it was urgent for countries to address fundamental issues to creating human capital.
According to Mr Akinwumi Adesina, the President of AfDB, “Youth unemployment must be given top priority. With 12 million graduates entering the labour market each year and only 3 million of them getting jobs, the mountain of youth unemployment is rising annually.”
“Let’s look at the real lives beyond the statistics. Let’s hear their voices, let’s feel their aspirations.” he added.
The report further added that although many countries experienced strong growth indicators, only a limited number posted significant declines in extreme poverty and inequality numbers, which remain higher than in other regions of the world.
According to Ms Hanan Morsy, the Director of the Macroeconomic Policy, Forecasting and Research Department at the Bank, Africa needs to develop its education to compete globally.
“As we enter a new decade, the African Development Bank looks to our people. Africa is blessed with resources but its future lies in its people and education is the great equaliser.
“Only by developing our workforce will we make a dent in poverty, close the income gap between rich and poor, and adopt new technologies to create jobs in knowledge-intensive sectors,” she said.
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