How well Africa develops its workforce will determine how soon it eradicates poverty and takes its place among top economies. That was the submission of Hanan Morsy, the Director of Micro-economics Policy, Forecasting & Research Dept. at the African Development Bank.
Morsy highlighted the role of skills development programmes and technology in changing the narratives across the continent.
Going by the African Development Bank’s economic outlook for the continent, greater days lie ahead; but the measure of economic success is how well policies and improved GDP help the citizens reach their goals of living and sustaining a good life. This informed the jab by the Chief Executive Officer of the continent financial institution, Akinwunmi Adesina, recently, that “nobody eats GDP”.
To buttress that, however, Hanan Morsy, noted the role of an empowered African workforce in making the most of the opportunities available for growth on the continent.
She said, “Africa is blessed with resources, but its future lies in its people”
“Only by developing our workforce will we make a dent in poverty, close the income gap between rich and poor, and adopt new technologies to create jobs in knowledge-intensive sectors”, she added.
The education system on the continent has been slow in catching up with workplace realities. African graduates may have been certified based on a rigid course works that are tied to long-held theories, but many lack the skills necessary to engage with and utilize modern technologies. As well, a good percentage do not know how to turn their skills into profitable ventures.
There have been debates about how to overhaul the education system to adapt to the demand of the employers of the 21st century.
In Nigeria, however, private firms are taking up the tasks of helping young people build technical skills necessary for success in the modern work environment. Facebook last week rounded off separate accelerator programmes in partnership with Afrinolly and Zenith Bank in Lagos. Andelia is training and connecting talented engineers with opportunities beyond borders; the Lagos Business School has stepped up its focus in raising 21st century entrepreneurs through its Enterprise Development Centre.
More, the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) is facilitating discussions that will help make it easier for Nigerians to build and run businesses. It is embarking on a ‘Lituation’ tour in Abuja this month to advance the programme.