Home Africa AfDB Annual Meeting Emphasizes Creation of Opportunities

AfDB Annual Meeting Emphasizes Creation of Opportunities

The discussions at AfDB annual meetings called for igniting the right policies and initiatives to bridge the resource gap, alongside policies that address the mismatch between skills taught in classrooms and what the labor market offers.

by Kwabe Ben
AfDB

The question of unemployment of the majority population in Africa was at the heart of a forum hosted by the Kenyan government on May 27 on the sidelines of the African Development Bank Group’s (AfDB) 2024 Annual Meetings in Nairobi.

For so long Africa has been known for its generally youthful population, however, the majority of these young people are unemployed despite their innovativeness and dynamism. Hence, the question is is the continent harnessing this demographic dividend to its advantage?

The panel discussion, “Harnessing Human Capital for Sustainable Growth and Development in Africa: Demographic Dividend and Circular Movement of Skilled Labour,” rallied experts to deliberate on the issue.

Prof Njuguna Ndung’u, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury, emphasized the importance of aligning skills development with emerging market opportunities to leverage human capital effectively. “If you don’t have human capital expertise, you will lag,” he said.

William Asiko, Rockefeller Foundation Vice President for Africa, highlighted Kenyan President William Ruto’s recent announcement that carbon credits will be Kenya’s next significant export by 2030. He noted that this initiative could create numerous jobs but stressed the necessity of developing the right skills to seize this opportunity. “Artificial Intelligence carbon markets are the big issues now. Can we develop these skills for the future?” he posed.

Martha Phiri, the Director of the Human Capital, Youth, and Skills Development Division at the African Development Bank (AfDB), shared the Bank’s new 10-year strategy, 2024-2033.

She emphasized that a healthy, productive, and innovative workforce is essential for Africa’s transformation. “A workforce that can ensure food security, drive power plants, enhance transport connectivity, and foster industrialization is crucial.”

Phiri pointed out the importance of derisking youth participation in investments across the value chains. “We need to ensure we not only build the necessary skills for young people, but invest in their businesses, and enhance derisking instruments to ensure youth are seen as bankable.”

The private sector was crucial for mobilizing human capital development resources. The panel emphasized the need to establish instruments encouraging private sector participation to optimize growth.

The discussions at AfDB annual meetings called for igniting the right policies and initiatives to bridge the resource gap, alongside policies that address the mismatch between skills taught in classrooms and what the labor market offers.

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