News / Africa

    World Bank: Young Work Force Becomes Asset, Challenge for Africa

     World Bank official Nicholas Stern (C), Jean-Louis Sarbib (L), and Shanta Devarajan (R), at the Dubai Annual Meeting of Board of Governors, World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund September 21, 2003.
    World Bank official Nicholas Stern (C), Jean-Louis Sarbib (L), and Shanta Devarajan (R), at the Dubai Annual Meeting of Board of Governors, World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund September 21, 2003.
    Gabe Joselow
    The World Bank says a lack of good jobs for an increasing number of young people in sub-Saharan Africa threatens the continent’s recent economic growth. The Bank says sustainable economic development is key to the continent’s future success.

    The World Bank says rising exports and increased domestic demand will continue to lift the economies of sub-Saharan Africa through the rest of the year. The region is expected to post economic growth of around 5.2 percent in 2012 and to continue to grow next year.
     
    In a live webcast Thursday, World Bank Chief Economist for Africa Shanta Devarajan said one of Africa’s greatest assets for future economic growth is the number of young people entering the work force.
     
    “Africa may be the only source of young people very soon, because the rest of the world is aging and some of the world, including Europe and Japan and the U.S. are aging quite rapidly," said Devarajan. "So this is potentially -- Africa could be a great powerhouse in the future.”
     
    But Devarajan said a growing population of young people is a “double-edged sword” and, if not managed right, could actually threaten economic development.

    “The most important risk or the most important threat is the fact that despite all of this growth, the number of productive jobs being created as a result of growth is still very limited relative to the number of young people entering the labor force every year,” he added.

    The World Bank says the natural resource sector across the region also carries great promise but risks burdening countries with the so-called “resource curse,” when revenues from natural resources fail to improve the lives of average citizens.

    World Bank Lead Economist for Africa Punam Chuhan-Pole said the data show this is already the case in many resource-rich countries.

    "If you look at the share of income that is going to the poorest 20 percent of the population, it is rather low," said Punam Chuhan-Pole. "It’s about six percent, which is comparable to what you see in other [non-resource rich] countries. So looking at how growth in these countries as well as wealth is impacting the poor, the results don’t seem that promising.”

    The World Bank says good governance is the key to beating the resource curse.

    That advice is especially pertinent following the recent discoveries of oil in Kenya, Sierra Leone and Liberia, and natural gas finds off the coasts of Tanzania and Mozambique.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora