Africa can build on workforce to spur growth

by Trust Matsilele 0

“Of all global regions, Africa will lead population growth over the next 50 years. Linked to this megatrend of rapid population growth is that of urbanisation,” the African Development Bank’s Tracking Africa’s Progress in Figures report noted.

“Over the last 20 years the continent’s population has grown rapidly and in 2011 exceeded the one billion mark.”

The African Development Bank (AfDB) also noted that the anticipated growth would put a strain on service delivery and existing infrastructure that will need to be enhanced to meet the growing population.

“The people of Africa will increasingly be city dwellers. Since 1960, the urban share of Africa’s population has doubled from 19 to 39 per cent, equivalent to an increase of more than 416 million people in 2011. This means that Africa will have some of the largest mega-cities in the world.”

“However, this is conditional on Africa improving access to and equity within health systems, articulating the right education policies, and creating employment opportunities,” the bank added.

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The report also noted that the proportion of people living in poverty had fallen from over 50 per cent in 1981 to less than 45 per cent in 2012.

This was aided by the continent’s emerging middle class, grown to some 350 million people and projected to reach 1.1 billion by 2060.

The region’s gross domestic product growth is expected to average more than 5 per cent over 2013–2015 with average inflation in the continent at 6.7 per cent in 2013.

(READ MORE: Growth projected for Africa in 2014)

Africa’s growth is facing challenges of inequalities with six of the 10 most unequal countries in the world being in Africa.

At the just ended World Economic Forum Africa in Abuja, world leaders urged the continent to ensure that growth was shared across social classes.