African leaders agree on vision to tap youth talent

Sunday July 30 2023
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President William Ruto (L) and President Samia Suluhu Hassan pose for a photo during the official opening of the Africa Heads of State Human Capital Summit in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania on July 25, 2023. PHOTO | PSCU


African leaders gathering in Dar es Salaam this week agreed on a seven-point declaration that could chart the future of youth contribution to development.

The Human Capital Development Summit was about gaps in employment opportunities, especially for those coming out of school.
It brought together more than a dozen leaders and development partners from across the continent.

According to a declaration read by Tanzania President Samia Suluhu on Wednesday, all leaders agreed that human capital development was critical for achieving sustainable and inclusive growth in Africa.

“Investment in human beings through quality education, healthcare, nutrition, job creation and skills development are necessary for improved social and economic outcomes,” President Samia said.

Read: Engage youth in energy transformation for results

However, massive effort and coordinated financing is needed to strengthen the quantity, efficiency and impact of investment in people.
The declaration borrows heavily from the UN Sustainable Development Goals and African Union’s Agenda 2063.


Challenges ahead

“Challenges that are impeding youth productivity including low access to quality education and skilled development, high adolescent’s fertility, drugs and substance abuse and child marriages”, said Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera.

“We have to make sure that education and skills development, science, technology and innovation health and nutrition are central area to focus on.”

Malawi’s 2018 population census showed as many as eight in ten people, in a population of 17 million, were aged 35 or below.

Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi said his government was taking steps to improve the number of women in the labour force through compulsory basic education and practical training.

“If we invest in human capital and believe in gender equality, we will be able to overcome many challenges that face us,” he said.
Kenya President William Ruto called for collaboration.

Read: Samia, Ruto bank on youth to feed Africa

“We have a chance to transform our population explosion and youth bulge into a demographic dividend,” he said.

The Kenyan president Africa was a green continent of the future where its young people are the global driver of a new industrial revolution.
The São Tomé and Príncipe President Mr Carlos Vila Nova, said half of his country’s population is aged under 35 years, something he said may be good or bad.

“If the youth workforce is not used well, it will become a problem, so what we need is to implement strategic policies that will enable us to benefit from the dividend of human capital,” he argued.

Sierra Leone president Mr Julius Maada Bio they have launched deliberate policy to ensure parents send girls to school.

“And they have been doing well in classes than boys. On average, out of 12 students who pass exams, eight are female students,” he said.