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

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More