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Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa

Access to Social & Economic Opportunities

  • Creating 25 million jobs
  • Building critical skills
  • Improving access to water & sanitation
  • Strengthening health systems

Despite the encouraging economic development enjoyed by many African countries during the last decade, many of them are still characterized by widespread poverty and inequality. Health and education outcomes are among the lowest in the world and the continent’s population has insufficient access to sanitation and safe drinking water.

Weak institutions make it difficult, especially in fragile economies, to deal with calamities such as the recent Ebolacrisis or the serious drought that is impacting several countries in 2016. Unemployment and underemployment of youth and women endanger social cohesion and inclusive development. These coupled with the mixed effects of limited access to quality education, health, nutrition, technology and innovation are impediments to accelerating Africa’s growth and entry into higher value-added areas of production and competitiveness. Failure to tackle these issues could deprive a whole generation of Africans the opportunities to develop their potential, escape poverty and support the continent’s trajectory toward inclusive growth and economic transformation.

The objective of this priority is to ensure that Africa’s demographic growth yields significant economic dividends and contributes to inclusive growth. This will be done through a catalytic approach where the Bank will continue investing in infrastructure and in improving access to basic services such as water and sanitation. The Bank will also continue its work promoting an enabling human development policy environment as well as strengthening institutions that deliver basic services, particularly in health systems in countries most vulnerable to epidemics, such as Ebola and Cholera.

Central to this initiative will be an emphasis on job creation, for which the Bank has prepared a Jobs for Youth in Africa (JfYA) strategy. The strategy is designed to increase direct and indirect employment, resulting in reduced poverty, inequality, and economic and conflict driven migration, and increased social cohesion and political stability. To accomplish these goal, the strategy aims to increase inclusive employment and entrepreneurship, strengthen human capital, and create durable labor market linkages by making use of three strategic levers: Innovation, Investment, and Integration.

We aim to create vocational and employment schemes for the youth – so that they do not undertake the perilous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe – through such schemes as the ‘Jobs for Africa’s Youth’ Initiative

– AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina

Through Innovation, the Bank will create new flagship programs in agriculture, industrialization and ICT as well as an innovation lab that will test, assess, and scale promising solutions to accelerate job creation in Africa. Through Investment, the Bank will undertake interventions to catalyze private sector investment by expanding access to capital through direct and indirect debt and equity investments and reducing risks by providing guarantees and first-loss provisions for banks’ lending to SMEs, especially those owned or managed by youth. Through Integration, the Bank will equip itself and RMCs to become engines for job creation. Bank projects, staff, and systems will be reoriented to address youth employment and the Bank will provide financial support to enable RMCs to pursue policies and regulatory actions favorable to youth employment and entrepreneurship.

The objective of the JfYA strategy is to create 25 million jobs and train 32 million young people, impacting 50 million African’s over the next decade. The initiative hopes to generate US $30 billion in income gains for the African economy. To successfully implement the JfYA program, US $5 billion in resources will need to be mobilized.(1)

(1) As part of JfYA, within the agriculture, the Bank, working with IITA, is championing the Youth Engagement in Agribusiness through the Empowering Novel Agribusiness-Led Employment for Youth in African Agriculture (ENABLE Youth) Programme. An estimated US $1 billion is projected to be used to support enterprise and job creation for youths and women in at least 25 African countries under the Programme. The target of the program is to create about 8 million agribusiness jobs in the next 5 years.


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