The African Development Bank has called upon Africa to match the continent’s growing population and youth unemployment.
The African Development Bank Governors held a consultative meeting where they meeting described the continent’s growing young population as a potential growth engine for the world.
Statistics show that 13 per cent of the world’s population is estimated to live in sub-Saharan Africa today. That number is projected to more than double by 2050. Four billion (or 36 per cent of the world’s population) could live in the region by 2100, according to the UN Population Division. Africa is projected to have over 840 million youth by 2050 with the continent having the youngest population on earth.
“The good news is that the solution is within our reach and will require investments,” said Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank.
To bridge the investment gap, ensure inclusive growth, and create employment for the continent’s population, the meeting endorsed the African Development Bank-led African Investment Forum and described it as a timely opportunity to catalyze investments into projects and attract social impact financing to Africa.
According to Tanzania’s Minister for Finance and Planning, Isdor Mpango, closer involvement of the private sector in financing development on the continent is important in bridging this gap.
“The African Development Bank is well positioned to advise and assist Governments and the private sector to come up with bankable projects,” Mpango said, calling for direct resources to provide budget support and investment opportunities.”
According to Adesina, “We have 12 years left to the SDGs. It is an alarm bell because if Africa does not achieve the SDGs, the world won’t achieve them. The African Development Bank is accelerating development across Africa through the High 5s. We are deepening our reforms. We deepened our disbursements to the highest levels ever last year and we are leveraging more resources for Africa.”
“Jobs will come from industrialization. The new approach using the African Investment Forum to de-risk the sector and attract investors is the way to go,” said Kiplagat Rotich, Kenyan Finance Minister.
Tunisia’s Development, Investment and International Cooperation Minister Zied Ladhari recalled how the Bank’s 11-year temporary relocation to his country helped strengthen the bonds between them. “We share the Bank’s vision. Africa is the continent of the future. This is a great Africa moment with the Bank at the centre. Unleashing the potential of African economies is a task which the Bank must accomplish.”
As part of the Bank’s High 5 agenda, 13 million African women have benefitted from new electricity
An analysis of the African Development Bank’s impact from 2010-2017 indicates that 27 million Africans gained access to new electricity connections. 899,000 small businesses were provided with financial services. 35 million have benefitted from improved access to water and sanitation.
“With a substantive capital increase, the African Development will be able to execute its robust pipeline of operations (15bn in 2018 alone), including infrastructure and regional integration projects. The prospects for 2018-2020 are bright, with 50.3 million people benefitting from improved access to transport compared to 14 million in 2017. Also, more than 35 million people are expected to benefit from new or improved electricity connections, in contrast to 4.4 million delivered in 2017.” A statement from the bank reads.