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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid