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Monday, 19 June 2017

Prioritising youth development across the continent

Lack of education and mismatched skills remain major obstacles to Africa's development agenda and with an estimated 364 million Africans between the age of 15 and 35 years, Africa has the world's youngest population.The African Union Commission cautions that the future of Africa’s economic growth and the future of millions of Africans, is in jeopardy, if the underlying issues that hinder development are not adequately addressed. With Africa expected to double its population over the next 25 years and the working-age population expected to grow by approximately 450 million between 2015 and 2035, the African Union Commission deputy chairperson, Ambassador Kwesi Quartey, says it is critical to urgently address the lack of education and mismatched skills, as major causes of rising numbers of unemployment. Speaking during the opening of the EU-Africa Business Forum in Brussels, Belgium, the deputy chairperson underscored the need to find linkages between education, training and the labour market, especially as the African Union focuses on the theme of the year, Harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in the youth. He noted that institutions of higher learning in Africa need to review and diversify their systems of education and expand the level of skills, to make them relevant to the demands of the labour market. Ambassador Kwesi stated that realising growth in technical fields that support industrialisation, manufacturing and development in the value chains will remain stunted, if the youth are not facilitated and adequately prepared for the job market.“Our institutions are churning out thousands of graduates each year, but these graduates cannot find jobs because the education systems are traditionally focused on preparing graduates for white collar jobs, with little regard to the demands of the private sector, innovation or entrepreneurship,” he stated. He further added the need for Africa to make deliberate efforts to have, “Every child in school by 2020, to ensure each African child has great start and foundation in life”.

Source: Bizcommunity