African Finance, Planning and Eonomic Development Ministers have resolved to implement strategies and plans at the regional and national levels to tackle youth unemployment and inequality on the continent.
Giovanne Biha, the Economic Commission for Africa’s Deputy Executive Secretary said: “The absence of decent jobs for young Africans has fueled outward migration, both within and from Africa resulting in tragic loss of lives as young people attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea in search for greener pastures.”
She was speaking at the 10th Joint Annual Meetings of the African Union Specialized Technical Committee on Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration, and the Economic Commission for Africa Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development held in Dakar, Senegal.
Ms. Biha said 2017 is the year of harnessing Africa’s Demographic Advantage Through Investment in Human Capital Development.
“It is the imperative for African countries to adopt coherent strategies and national development plans that promote structural transformation and address the challenges of growth, inequality and unemployment within the context of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” she said.
Ms. Biha noted that discussions on unemployment in Africa were not new, adding it was now time for action on the ground.
African Union Commission’s Economic Affairs Commissioner, Anthony Mothae Maruping, said”: “We are in the right place to come up and work on strategies to make sure our young people don’t voluntarily and involuntarily leave the continent to look for opportunities elsewhere.”
Growth on the continent, Mr. Maruping said, has so far has not been inclusive. “We need to grow Africa. The time to do so is now.”
He said the AU’s Agenda 2063 is seeking to achieve accelerated, stable, inclusive and real economic job-creation growth in Africa.
Mr. Maruping said no form of poverty was acceptable and urged the participants to work hard at eradicating all inequalities.
“Africa knows what to do, how to do it, with what and when to do it as we target this growth and inequality. We really want to transform our economies, raise our productivity, promote integration and trade.”
Senegal’s Budget Minister, Birima Mangara, said his country was doing all it can to structurally transform its economy for the benefit of every citizen.
He said inequalities and youth unemployment were being tackled as well as other related problems that lead to poverty, adding that youth and women on the continent should be prioritized in job creation.
“It is these meetings which serve as outstanding platforms to discuss Africa’s problems. I am convinced that the debates will lead to very important recommendations that are important for the future development of our dear Africa.”
The conference, which was held under the theme: “Growth, inequality and unemployment”, explored measures for reducing inequality and extreme poverty on the continent in order to achieve the targets of the First Ten-Year Implementation Plan (2013-2023) of Agenda 2063 and the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, among other issues.