Investing in young people will unlock productivity, innovation

October 2, 2018
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On gender equality, the French President called for ‘chosen fertility’ and greater access to education and family planning for African women/FILE

, NEW YORK, Oct 2 – While a billion people have lifted themselves out of poverty over the last 20 years, rapid population growth in the poorest countries particularly in Africa puts future progress at risk.

The Goalkeepers Data report launched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in New York, shows that demographic trends can stall unprecedented progress in reducing global poverty.

If current trends continue, the number of extremely poor people in the world could stop its two-decade decline and could even rise.

“Investing in the health and education of young people in Africa could unlock productivity and innovation, leading to a third wave of poverty reduction, which follows the first wave in China and the second India,” the report says.

“To continue improving the human condition, our task now is to help create opportunities in Africa’s fastest-growing, poorest countries,” Bill and Melinda Gates stated. “This means investing in young people.”

France President Emmanuel Macron present during the launch said: “The future of African youth is not hope to become like Europe or America of the 1980’s, but like an Africa of the 21st century.”

He said that would require a big change in mindset but was nonetheless feasible.

The Goalkeepers Data report notes that in the past, large populations have helped drive economic growth and poverty reduction. The report makes the case for leaders to invest in the power and potential of the youth to continue progress.

According to the report, investments in health and education or human capital in sub-Saharan Africa could increase GDP in the region by more than 90pc by 2050.

On gender equality, the French President called for ‘chosen fertility’ and greater access to education and family planning for African women.

“Present me the woman, who decided, being perfectly educated, to have seven, eight or nine children. Please present me with the young girl who decided to leave school at 10 in order to be married at 12,” said Macron.

He noted that a lot of girls are not properly educated sometimes because of the culture which deprives the girls of their rights as opposed to those of the young men.

Macron called for existing post-war institutions to be radically reformed to meet the changes nature of economic and political power.

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