By Julie Mandoyan | May 11, 2012 - 15:00 GMT
Kofi Annan, Chair of the Africa Progress Panel (APP), launched the organization’s annual report in Addis Ababa today (11 May) at the World Economic Forum on Africa. The publication — Africa Progress Report 2012: Jobs, Justice and Equity — highlighted Africa’s potential but warned that disparities could affect future growth.
The APP called on policy makers, African governments and regional organizations to maintain a “relentless focus” on jobs, justice and equity to ensure sustainable, shared growth that benefited all Africans. The report emphasized the need for governments to focus their action around the “profound democratic shift” Africa was facing: the continent’s population is projected to double in three decades, with 60 percent currently under the age of 30. Annan stressed the need to ensure that opportunities would be accessible to all, declaring: ”we have a young bulge that is going to need lots of work, lots of jobs and governments should focus on that”.
Annan also noted that the continent’s economic growth — over 5 percent for the next two years — was a positive development. “Africa is on its way to becoming a preferred investment destination”. Such growth could, however, accentuate disparities and marginalization, particularly as many countries were not on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Annan warned “disparities in basic life-chances — for health, education and participation in society — are preventing millions of Africans from realizing their potential, holding back social and economic progress in the process”. Not acting could lead to “a demographic disaster marked by rising levels of youth employment, social dislocation and hunger”.
Seven hundred participants from all over the world — including several African heads of State, former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the President of the China Investment Corporation, Gao Xinqing — were expected at the meeting.
(Photo © APP)
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