Africa Still Remains Underdeveloped


Having borne the effects of the global credit crunch better than most continents, it is a wonder that Africa still remains dwarfed in terms of tangible economic growth.

While most of the countries have continued to record an average growth of five per cent in the gross domestic product, it remains to be seen how this growth has impacted citizens, especially in resolving issues of poverty, education and unemployment.

While leaders gather in South Africa for the African Union Assembly of Heads of State, it is these underlying issues that they need to address.

The fact that the African population now contains more than 65 per cent of young people has created serious concerns because most of these are either lacking in education or have no jobs.

The UNFPA has given a clear message to Zambia and other countries that investment in education and ensuring that these young people have

jobs, is the first step to building their economies and establishing a base for long-term prosperity. Japan and South Korea are examples that have been given of countries, despite not having any natural resources to exploit, but spent time and resources in investing in their populations.

Their economic growth, as a result, has been among the best in the world in recent years.

Among the agenda times scheduled for discussion at the summit is the possibility of harmonising university education.

This will help guarantee young people the opportunities for jobs across the country without being subjected to unfair scrutiny of their qualifications.

It is also a move, if endorsed, that will ensure that young people compete effectively even against Western qualifications.

Also important is the empowerment of women through provision of modern tools of agriculture.

It is said that women in Africa work long and hard using traditional tools like hoes but end up only cultivating small patches of land.

The labour that goes into farming is disproportionate to the proceeds that come out and now the consensus is that appropriate technologies be given to women.

Indeed an empowered woman is a guarantee of a successful society that has achieved food security.

More support in maternal health is critical, especially in family planning where women should be given power to determine their family planning options.

While the summit will be pushing to consolidate its common position in demanding a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, these issues must all be given equal attention because they will be the determinants of a prosperous Africa through the Agenda 2063 blueprint.

The security seat of course is important for AU member States to speak with cohesiveness and ensure that this time around it is given with full veto powers.

As AU chairperson Robert Mugabe said, there should be no countries that should opt to have different opinions on the matter, and cause the continent to lose the momentum that it has built in championing this cause.

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Source: The Times of Zambia

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