Human Capital Development Critical to Tackle Africa’s Socio-economic Challenges – Experts

The African Union's headquarters complex in Addis Ababa


AFRICA’S socio-economic development continues to be hindered by lack of skills required to deal with problems such as non-inclusive growth, youth unemployment, climate change, worsening security and excessive reliance on export of primary commodities, development experts said.

For the continent to reduce poverty, food insecurity, gender inequality, and improve equal access to education and healthcare by 2063, it needs to develop the necessary expertise in key area such as health, education, infrastructure, agriculture, industry, resource mobilization, trade, and regional integration, the experts said in a statement at the end of a capacity building conference held recently in Harare.

“Capacity remains the missing link in dealing with the critical development challenges facing Africa as well as implementation of the development priorities” like Agenda 2063, a development plan of the African Union, the Sustainable Development Goals, the development strategies of regional economic communities and the development plan of each country, the statement said.

“Despite the economic and social progress achieved across the continent, the results have been differentiated and many countries continue to face human and institutional capacity deficits which prevent them from achieving their full development potential,” it added.

Many African countries are facing an economic crisis caused by falling commodity prices which sharply cut their revenues and slowed down the strong economic growth they had experienced a few years ago. To ensure that this problem does not recur in the future, the conference urged African countries to maintain “sound macroeconomic policies that support sustained and inclusive economic growth”.

Participants, mainly from African countries, pan-African organizations, multilateral agencies, civil society organizations, think tanks and universities, praised the Harare-based African Capacity Building Foundation, the host of the meeting, for its role in addressing Africa’s skills shortages.

They called for stakeholders in the area of skills development to implement interventions in a coordinated manner to avoid an overlap of functions.

The Foundation, set up in 1991, is the leading institution in training experts in the areas of policy, research, economic management and good governance across the continent. To date, it has empowered people in governments, parliaments, civil society, private sector and higher education in more than 45 countries and six regional economic communities with some $700 million. Its major backers are the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme and the UN Economic Commission for Africa.

—  May 16, 2016 @ 19:50 GMT


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