Improvement in Competitiveness Needed to Meet Africa’s Demographic Challenges: WB Featured

05 May 2017
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Addis Ababa May 5, 2017 Africa’s economy will not create enough jobs for the young people entering the job market unless urgent action is taken to address the stagnating levels of competitiveness, a report released by the World Bank said.

The ability of Africa’s economies to generate enough jobs for its young and growing population rests on the successful implementation of urgent reforms to boost productivity, the Africa Competitiveness Report 2017 added.

The rapidly expanding population, which is expected to add 450 million more to the labor force over the next two decades, is expected to be the challenge to Africa’s leaders. Under current policies, only 100 million new jobs would be created during this period, the report said.

Priorities to meet the changing demographics include policy reforms to improve the quality of institutions, infrastructure, skills and adoption of new technology.

The report finds that housing development and better urban planning present opportunities for short-term competitiveness gains.                                                              

Competitiveness is defined as the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity—and hence future prosperity—of a country.

The report, which covers North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, comes at a time when growth in most of the region’s economies has been slowing after a decade of sustained growth.

Further stagnation is likely in the absence of improvements in the core conditions for competitiveness, according to the report.

Africa’s young, dynamic population does, however, possess the potential to lead an economic revival in the region backed by targeted short- and long-term reforms in key areas, the report finds.

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