The African Development Bank (AfDB ) says unless the government of African countries match the continent’s growing population and youth unemployment, the continent could trigger a time bomb.
Akinwunmi Adesina, president of the bank, said this a recent meeting which had government officials from east and north African countries in attendance.
He described the continent’s growing young population as a potential growth engine for the world if well harnessed.
“We have 12 years left to the SDGs. It is an alarm bell because if Africa does not achieve the SDGs, the world won’t achieve them. The good news is that the solution is within our reach and will require investments,” Adesina said.
Thirteen percent of the world’s population is estimated to live in sub-Saharan Africa today. That number is projected to more than double by 2050.
Four billion (36% of the world’s population) could live in the region by 2100, according to the UN Population Division.
Africa is projected to have over 840 million youth by 2050, with the continent having the youngest population on earth.
The meeting agreed that to meet these challenges it was necessary to bridge investment gap, ensure inclusive growth, and create employment for the continent’s population.
They endorsed the AfDB-led African investment forum and described it as a timely opportunity to catalyze investments into projects and attract social impact financing to Africa; the bank and the governors also discussed strategizes for closing Africa’s $170 billion infrastructure investment gap.