World Bank urges Africa to cut poverty, create jobs

Nairobi, Jan 29: The World Bank has called on sub-Saharan Africa to create more productive jobs and cut poverty to boost economic growth.

Creating well-paying jobs for the continent’s youth is very crucial for the region’s economic progress, Xinhua quoted the world bank as saying in its latest report on youth employment in Africa.

Attracting investment into large enterprises that create wage jobs in the mainstream “formal” economy is critical, said World Bank Vice President for Africa Makhtar Diop, adding but it was only part of the solution to Africa’s youth employment challenge.

“For the millions of young people who are just surviving in the hidden informal sector, they will need greater access to land, skill training, and credit to thrive,” Diop said.

“This will be a game-changer for small farmers and entrepreneurs who will prosper as African economies grow, in close cooperation with the private sector.”

The regional report, “Youth Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa” has noted that close to 80 per cent of the workforce will continue to work on small farms and in household businesses in the near future.

Deon Filmer, lead economist at the World Bank and co-author of the report said governments can approach the youth employment challenge by helping to improve the business environment to spark more private investment.

He said the government can also tackle the employment issue by investing more in young people’s education and other skills to create brighter life prospects for them.

With over half of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population now under the age of 25, as many as 11 million young Africans are expected to join the labour market annually for the next decade.

The report noted that while many African economies have registered impressive economic growth in recent years, poverty levels across the region have not fallen as much as expected.

According to the report, this is partly because many African countries rely heavily on oil, gas, and mineral extraction which boosts economic growth but does little to creating new jobs.

IANS