Education key to Africa’s development: WEF chairman

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Good governance, education and entrepreneurship will be crucial in the region’s development story; this is according to Klaus Schwab, the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

“Governments should create space for young people to exercise their talents; education is also going to be a key thing going into the future,” Schwab told CNBC Africa on the side-lines of the WEF in Cape Town.

(READ MORE: Bridging the energy gap in Africa: resources are high, utilisation is low)

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Schwab added that Africa had an advantage of a democratic dividend as 75 per cent of the continent’s population were under the age of 35.

“I am a big believer of Africa for two reasons; Africa has a young population while other countries like China are faced with an ageing population. Africa has also young people with entrepreneurial abilities,” he added.

Schwab said Africa could be influential in this century just as Asia was in the last century but this depended on what Africans were going to do.  

“Twenty-five years ago, people came to look for opportunities but now they come to look for joint solutions with government as it is clear governments alone cannot solve problems by themselves,” he said.

Schwab said Africa was faced with a much more complex situations coupled with high expectations and geo-political context, however he remains defiant of Africa’s potential.

“I am very much positive about the potential of Africa, I think we will always be two steps forward than one step backwards.”

The WEF chairperson hailed the late former President of South Africa saying it was clear that Nelson Mandela was an outstanding person, combining professionalism, reason and passion.

(READ MORE: Africa’s GDP growth owed to investors)

“I don’t know anyone of his calibre in the world even post-1992 when he also propagated a different approach to the economy,” he said.

Schwab said Africa has great capabilities and possibilities and could leverage from the increasing technologies.

“Technology is a two-edged sword as they can be disruptive, what we need to do is absorb the positive side of the technologies.” 

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