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Business News of Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Source: GNA

AU calls for investment to create jobs

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, has called for more investment to create jobs, achieve inclusive growth and eradicate poverty on the continent.

She said the continent would in the next fifty years be home to 1.1 billion workers – more than a third of the global workforce.

Dr Zuma made the remarks in her first address to the International Labour Conference, which was made available to the Ghana News Agency on Monday by the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Communication and Public Information Unit.

“We are determined to step up our efforts to promote job creation, work for the eradication of poverty, achieve growth and allow equitable distribution, particularly for women and the youth,” Dr Zuma said.

She said Africa had managed to resist internal and external shocks and was expected to grow by 4.8 per cent in 2013, and 5.3 per cent in 2014, although there were significant challenges ahead.

“By all estimates, our continent is a continent of young people, and it is getting younger. By 2025, it is estimated that the African youth will make up one-quarter of the world’s population.

“By 2040, half of the world’s youth population will be African, the majority of which will be women and girls.

“This means that in the next fifty years, approximately 1.1 billion of the global workforce, will be African,” she said, calling for more investments in African agriculture, infrastructure, small and medium enterprises, sea transportation, energy, information and communications technology, and tourism.

Dr Zuma said investing in Africa’s youth was a big part of meeting the challenges facing the region.

“It is imperative that we invest in our people’s health, nutrition and education and have them acquire the skills that will enable them to become productive members of our society,” she said, adding that: “to be properly employed, the youth must be employable.”

The Chairperson mentioned a joint initiative developed by the AU Commission, the African Development Bank, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the ILO aimed at promoting youth employment in the continent.

“We invite our international partners – in particular the ILO – to join hands with us in our efforts to raise the productivity and income of this category of workers, and to create the conditions favourable to their gradual participation into the mainstream economy,” she said.

“The African Union is committed for the next 50 years – and beyond – to modernize Africa, industrialize, continue to transform our economies so as [to] ensure social services, as well as decent work and decent remuneration for all African workers, regardless of their sector of activities,” she concluded.

ILO Director-General Guy Ryder, who welcomed Dr Zuma to the Conference, said: “Africa is rising. It is also encouraging to see African economies growing and African countries bringing down poverty levels and progressing on the decent work agenda. Yet, jobless growth is a challenge to the continent.”