Investing in Africa’s Youth Will Help Spur Global Economic Growth, Says Development Strategist

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Investing in Africa’s young population will help drive the global economy while improving the livelihoods of millions of people, Reinhild Niebuhr, Founder of the Young Africa Vision – an initiative that seeks to empower the continent’s budding entrepreneurs – has said.

“Africa is the Continent of Youth. Global economic growth can achieve a huge boost if powerful democratic players like the EU and the USA would also invest in infrastructure, energy and youth skills development and entrepreneurship,” Ms Niebuhr explained in a statement issued this week.

Niebuhr, a South Africa-based Youth Development Strategist, said that investors and education sector stakeholders need to help Africa’s unemployed, but highly talented youth to transform themselves and the continent into a space of global inspiration.

A previous United Nations (UN) report indicates that Africa has the world’s youngest population.

Niebuhr stated that 200 million young Africans do not have jobs while their potential is at risk of being wasted.

This figure is expected to double by 2045, according to another analysis titled the 2012 African Economic Outlook report prepared by experts from the African Development Bank (AfDB), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the industrialized countries’ Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), among others.

Many countries with rapidly growing youth populations are struggling already to educate their young people.

According to the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs, the education systems of many countries are leaving behind a substantial proportion of the population.

The UN stated that the most recent data available shows that in 32 countries, fewer than 80 percent of 15 to 24 year olds are literate.

“Of these 32 countries, 18 are projected to seea more than 40 per cent increase in the number of youth between 2015 and 2030. In six of these low-literacy countries, all in sub-Saharan Africa, the growth of the youth population in this period is projected to exceed 60 percent,” the UN body reiterated.

“Africa has an immense opportunity to invest in future leaders and entrepreneurs,” the UN said in its analysis.


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