“Nobody eats GDP” says African Development Bank President

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Africa’s economies are growing strongly, but growth alone cannot meet the needs of the continent’s poorest citizens, because “nobody eats GDP,” said Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank during the 2020 African Economic Outlook.

According to the 2020 African Economic Outlook, Africa’s economies are growing well, higher than the global average. The report anticipated a steady rise in growth in Africa from 3.4% in 2019 to 3.9% in 2020 and 4.1% in 2021.

According to the report, these figures do not give all the details. Because across the continent, the poor are not seeing the benefits of strong growth. Comparatively, few African countries posted substantial declines in extreme poverty and inequality, which remain higher compared to other regions in the world.

The report also revealed only 18 of 48 African countries with data, had inclusive growth.

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“Growth must be visible. Growth must be equitable. Growth must be felt in the lives of people.” Said Adesina.
The 2020 Africa Economic Outlook report was under the theme, ‘Developing Africa’s workforce for the future’.

During the forum, people called for swift action to address human capital development in African countries, where inclusive growth had not been used due to the division between young workers’ skills and the needs of employers.

The Bank’s report states that increased investments in education is key as well as setting high priorities for the poor and disadvantaged and focusing on basic education first where social returns are highest. Its recommendations include improving access to education in remote areas, incentives such as free uniforms and textbooks, banning child labour and improving teaching standards.

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The report recommends that to better match skills with job opportunities, the, governments need to develop a demand-driven education system in tune with rapidly emerging jobs in the private sector, including marketing specialists, software engineers and data analysts.

“Africa is blessed with resources, but its future lies in its people…education is the great equaliser. Only by developing our workforce will we make a dent in poverty, close the income gap between rich and poor, and adopt new technologies to create jobs in knowledge-intensive sectors,” said Hanan Morsy, Director of the Macroeconomic Policy, Forecasting and Research Department at the Bank.

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