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Perspectives on the 2016 Youth Development Index: The Future of Young people in Africa

21 October 2016
By Dr Mo Ibrahim, Founder and Chair, Mo Ibrahim Foundation (for good governance and exceptional leadership in Africa)

Africa is a continent of young people; our demography is quite different from the rest of the world. Within three generations, 41% of the world’s youth will be Africans. By 2030, Africa’s labour force will be larger than China’s; by 2035 it will be larger than India’s.

This is a wonderful resource for our continent, if and only that resource is skilled and employed.

We need to overhaul our education system, to focus on education for employment. Education must match the job market. We need to develop the skills required by business, and by our own national development plans. Currently we produce the lowest number of engineers in the world, less than 2% of our youth is studying agriculture. This simply will not do.

In Africa, we mostly mismanaged our natural resources…and then the blessing of our abundant natural resources somehow turns into a curse.

I hope we do better with our abundant human resource, and avoid a potential curse. 

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