AfDB President Kaberuka Highlights Africa’s Emergence in New Global Economic Climate but Stresses Infrastructure and Skills Gap

31/05/2013
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The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Donald Kaberuka, has told delegates at the AfDB Annual Meetings in Marrakesh, Morocco, that while Africa is booming, more investments in infrastructure and in skills are needed to transform the continent’s economies.

African countries have seen sustained growth during the global financial crisis averaging 6.6%. In his remarks at the opening ceremony of the annual meetings on May 30, 2013, Kaberuka noted that as the continent repositions itself in a new global economic climate, it is the emerging markets that are giving the much needed push to a sluggish global economy, adding that “the world needs Africa and Africa needs the world.”

Africa has doubled its GDP in the last decade. However, as Kaberuka noted, while the volume and value of the continent’s natural resources have grown, the structure of the economies have remained the same, resulting a lack of job opportunities for a growing population. To highlight the lack of value added manufacturing in the continent, Kaberuka used the example of mobile phone use in the continent fast outstripping Europe or the USA, while none of the phone’s components are produced in Africa.

“We have entrepreneurs and creative artists displaying their talents, but also desperate unemployed young people who are educated but have little prospect of a decent job,” said Kaberuka, stressing Africa’s huge infrastructure and skills gap.

The 2013 AfDB Annual Meetings have been focusing on the need for Africa’s structural transformation. Delegates are discussing the need to regulate and reap more benefits from its extractive industries; to add value to and make Africa a global leader in agriculture and manufacturing; to accelerate regional integration with infrastructure investments, to ensure growth is inclusive, benefitting all Africans; to invest in human capital; and to ensure Africa’s urbanization is a driver of economic development.

The President thanked his staff for the enduring strength and resilience of the AfDB during a tough global economic climate, and assured the audience that the financial outlook of the Bank remains good.