AfDB Seminars Mull Public-Private Vision for Africa’s Growth and Development
The High Level Seminars, a Central component of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Annual Meetings wound up in Lisbon on Wednesday, with a call for wider public partnership for Africa’s economic growth and development.
The notion was that African governments had a responsibility to provide the appropriate macroeconomic environment to spur efficiency and growth in the political, economic and social life of their countries.
Organized around the theme: “Towards an Agenda for Inclusive Growth in Africa”, the four topics reflected challenges facing Africa in terms of setting an agenda to bring about inclusive growth capable of generating jobs and opportunities for the continent´s labor force and reduce poverty..
These are: “Youth, Employment Creation and Shared Growth in Africa”; “Powering Africa: Financing Energy, Green Growth and Climate Change”; “Private Sector Development and Domestic Resource Mobilization”; and “Africa – Innovation Hub for Growth”.
Youth employment was the most debated topic, largely because of recent political events in North Africa party spurred by youth unemployment.
Experts warned that on a continent where 72 percent of the youth live below the poverty line (about 2 dollars per day) and where 10 percent of the unemployed were university graduates, there was a need for urgent strong action by governments to overhaul the system.
“The situation will be worse than what Tunisia experienced… if our youth remain massively unemployed and the various institutions and stakeholders fail to find a way out of this challenging situation,” Said Ernest Aryeetey, Vice Chancellor, University of Ghana, who led the panel.
Participants made suggestions on how to improve the situation including through education reforms, labor mobility, regional integration, and private sector development. However, there was a consensus on the need for African political, economic and social systems to undergo structural change.