August 16th 2017

World / Africa & Diaspora

The African Century: Continent's doubling population will shape everyone's future

"Africa's population will more than double up to 2.5 billion people until 2050 with half of them being under 25 years. By then Africa's youth population will be ten times the size of European Union's. What will this youth boom do, what will they think, what will they want?"

By Free Press Correspondentnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comThursday, 08 Jun 2017 19:18 EAT

The global response to Africa's burgeoning youth population will determine the course of history, according to a new report released today by The ONE Campaign ahead of the G20 "Partnership with Africa" conference in Berlin (June 12th and 13th).

'The African Century' shows that by 2050, Africa's youth will outnumber the G20's youth population and will bring with it huge opportunities – and requires everyone to work in partnership to seize this moment.

Without coordinated global action – in particular from African leaders and G20 countries – this opportunity will be lost, and the world risks severe consequences for regional and global stability.

However, through renewed action by African and G20 leaders investing into employment, education and empowerment, sufficient jobs and chances for prosperity for this youth generation can be created and lead to an increase of $500bn for the African GDP for 30 years, which will also drive global growth.

Jamie Drummond, co-founder of ONE, said: "Africa's population will more than double up to 2.5 billion people until 2050 with half of them being under 25 years. By then Africa's youth population will be ten times the size of European Union's. What will this youth boom do, what will they think, what will they want? They will determine the future not just of Africa but Europe and the world – and we need to re-double our investments in their future now because it is also ours. This is why a historic new G20-Africa partnership is essential and must be agreed through Germany's G20 summit."

The 'Partnership with Africa' is a key theme of Germany's G20 Presidency. As part of this theme, the 'Partnership with Africa' event will be a key moment – where the G20 will be presenting the "Compacts with Africa". 

These agreements between a developed country and a developing country aim to improve foreign direct investment in Africa, to boost private sector generated jobs.

Currently, five countries are listed for the compacts: Côte d'Ivoire, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal and Tunisia.

ONE's report, "The African Century" shows the compacts need to be expanded to Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and fragile states to be a successful tool for developing the continent. The average growth of the working-age population in fragile states and LDCs is with 77 percent much higher than in other African countries (60%).At the same time, these countries are determining the stability of entire regions. 

Nachilala Nkombo, interim Executive Director of ONE in Africa said: "As the G20 focuses on Africa this year, it is important that they focus their partnerships and Compacts with Africa between 2017-20 on investments and reforms that will accelerate the creation of millions of opportunities and jobs for Africa's exploding population.

"The wider Africa must prioritise delivery of quality education - G20 partnership, especially girls' education as should be the empowerment of citizens to fight corruption. African heads of states at their July 2017 AU summit must agree on a set of investment targets to prevent a demographic disaster and ensure a dividend.

"African states urgently need the implementation of smart policies and targeted investments that focus on delivering education, employment and empowerment for its exploding youth population. To better support Africa,  Europe must pass an anti-money laundering directive that helps African citizens track and follow the money sometimes stolen through corruption.

"Failure by our governments  and partners to grasp this opportunity will result in  deepening poverty, conflicts, terrorism and famine that will spill over international borders into Europe."

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