GENEVA, Switzerland – Dr. Nkosazana Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, seeks more investment to promote job creation, fuel growth and eradicate poverty. At the International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, Zuma stated that they are determined to step up their efforts to promote job creation, particularly for women and youth.
Ms. Zuma said, “By all estimates, our continent is a continent of young people, and it is getting younger. By 2025, it is estimated that the African youth will make up one-quarter of the world’s population. By 2040, half of the world’s youth population will be African, the majority of which will be women and girls. This means that in the next fifty years, approximately 1.1 billion of the global workforce will be African.”
Africa’s youth will therefore be a major focus in trying to meet the challenges facing the region. Zuma expresses that the nation must invest in nutrition and education so that people can acquire the skills necessary to be contributing members of society. She states, “To be properly employed, the youth must be employable.”
Zuma recognizes that they will face hardships in trying to reach the continent’s developmental goals. The hope is for more investments in Africa’s agriculture, infrastructure, small and medium enterprises, sea transportation, energy, Information and Communications Technology, and tourism.
The ultimate goal is to bring down poverty levels and give people the opportunity to become part of the global economy. If the continent succeeds in investing in youth, they will become the driving force of Africa’s social, economic and cultural development. This investment will build the skills and capacity needed to increase productivity. Africans would be given the power to become players in the world market on a more equal footing.
Africa has experienced strong economic growth over the past decade, and is now home to seven out of the ten world’s fastest growing economies. Accelerating job creation and reducing unemployment is a challenge seen across the region, however investors are recognizing that Africa offers new opportunities to develop new markets.
– Ali Warlich