, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 8 – Inequality is a challenge in Africa but growth in recent years has raised hope of a better future, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.
He noted that eight of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world are from Africa with an average growth of five percent.
“Africa is standing in an incredibly privileged position becoming a centre for global growth. We are proudly watching the continent rising to an international powerhouse and becoming an investment destination for both advanced and emerging economies,” he said.
President Kenyatta spoke Monday when he opened a joint Forum of the Rockefeller Foundation, the African Development Bank and the Economic Commission for Africa on Inclusive Economies in Africa.
He said in the last decade Foreign Direct Investment to the continent has increased fivefold, with the largest share of investment flowing into the mining and extractives sector.
President Kenyatta said the continent’s past record has not been good but the last decade has seen promising signs.
“Africa is at a crossroads, with a youthful population that will be the largest global workforce in the next two decades; a land blessed with natural resources beyond compare; and a continent that is the very embodiment of resilience and hope,” President Kenyatta said.
He said Africa has also been doing well in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and is the only continent with a ‘post-2015 programme’.
President Kenyatta, however, said African countries should focus on developing a skills base to fully exploit the continent’s potential.
“Engineering skills to run drilling operations; legal skills to negotiate positions that protect our present day assets into the future; technology skills to run the digital networks needed to build and maintain these investments are critical to economic and livelihood prospects for our young men and women,” he said.
In Kenya, President Kenyatta said, the National Youth Service has been re-energized as a programme that instils dignity in all spectrums of work. It teaches national values and social cohesion as benchmarks for a new generation of Kenyans.
Noting that Africa is rapidly growing its digital footprint, the President said Kenya has established itself as a leader in IT innovation, with groundbreaking products such as M-PESA.
“My government has committed to ensuring it reflects a digital DNA and this is evidenced by our commitment to building these skills from primary level and shifting the modus operandi of how government works through an e-government platform,” the President said.