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Africa Progress Report 2012 : Jobs, Justice and Equity

The Panel’s report identifies a range of challenges demanding urgent action on the part of governments, including :

Youth employment : Africa’s youth population (15-24 year olds) will rise from 133 million at the start of the century to 246 million by 2020 – requiring another 74 million jobs over the next decade simply to prevent youth unemployment from rising. The report sets out an agenda for raising skills and generating rural jobs through off-farm employment.

Smallholder agriculture : In the absence of a concerted effort to raise the productivity of smallholder agriculture, the report cautions that Africa will remain vulnerable to food security crises. It identifies ‘land grabs’ by foreign investors and speculators as a major threat and urges African government to consider stronger regulation.

Education : The report calls for urgent action to tackle what it describes as a ‘twin crisis’ in access and learning. With 30 million children out of school and many of those in school failing to master basic literacy, Africa is ill-equipped to generate jobs and take its place in a knowledge-based global economy. The report calls for a strengthened focus on education and the creation of appropriate funding mechanisms.

Global economic governance and aid : The report notes that Africa still has a weak voice in areas - such as trade, finance and development assistance – that have a critical bearing on its citizens. The report adds that aid remains vitally important and that African governments and development partners must deliver on their commitments in a transparent and accountable way.

Caroline Kende-Robb, Executive Director of the Africa Progress Panel, says : “Africa is rising and African economies are growing faster than those of almost any other region in the world. However, the current pattern of trickle-down growth is not benefitting enough people. Indeed, benefits measured by poverty reduction, maternal health and childhood survival fall far short of what Africans have a right to expect. The report calls for renewed focus on jobs, justice and equity to ensure that Africa’s impressive economic growth is translated into shared growth for all Africans.”

Kofi Annan says : “The overall message of this year’s report is positive. Africa is on its way to becoming a preferred investment destination, a potential pole of global growth, and a place of immense innovation and creativity. But there is also a long way to go – and Africa’s governments must as a matter of urgency turn their attention to those who are being left behind. I believe Africa and its leaders can rise to this challenge. If they do, Africa will become more prosperous, stable and equitable. This is a prize which we all, wherever we live, will share.”


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