'A Blueprint to Address the Continent's Human Capacity Gap.' African Development Bank's African Economic Outlook 2020 Lauded At 33rd AU Summit

7 February 2020
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African Development Bank (Abidjan)

"The report reminds us of the size of the investment that must be made in the development of human capital in Africa." - Victor Harison, the African Union Commissioner for Economic Affairs.

"If the recommendations in the African Economic Outlook are implemented, there is no stopping the continent." - Caleb Meakins, social entrepreneur, global campaigner against poverty and TedX speaker.


The African Development Bank's African Economic Outlook 2020 was praised at the 33rd African Union Summit in Addis Ababa for being an effective blueprint for addressing the continent's human capacity gap.

The 2020 edition of the flagship report, under the theme Developing Africa's workforce of the future, was presented at a side event attended by policymakers, global and regional development organizations, civil society, the media and academia.

The Commissioner for Economic Affairs at the African Union Commission, Victor Harison, observed that the report tackled the challenges of human capital development "from a different perspective and focusing on the development of Africa's workforce for the future through the prism of education, skills and infrastructure."

"The facts mentioned in the second part of this report are striking. It reminds us of the size of the investment that must be made in the development of human capital in Africa, an essential component for achieving productive transformation," the Commissioner told the high-level meeting.

Vincent Nmehielle, Secretary General of the African Development Bank, said the African Economic Outlook had become the blueprint for planning and for sound economic research about the continent.

"The question then is: why are we presenting the report at the African Union? This is where Africa's socio-economic policy and political decisions are made. It is therefore important that heads of state know the key policy recommendations for the year," he said.

The Ethiopian Commissioner for job creation, Ephrem Lemango, highlighted a key part of the report on the importance of expanding education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). "In Ethiopia STEM represents 70% of graduates. Still, jobs need to be created for these graduates."

For Hippolyte Fofack, Chief Economist at the African Export-Import Bank "the 2020 African Economic Outlook is timely because the skills to develop African economies are not yet developed." Fofack highlighed the importance of skills and youth entrepreneurship capacity to the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

"If the recommendations in the report are implemented, there is no stopping the continent," said Caleb Meakins, social entrepreneur, global campaigner against poverty and TedX speaker.

Hanan Morsy, Director of Macroeconomic Forecasting and Research at the African Development Bank, said education was essential to fight poverty and inequality.

Africa's economic growth remained stable in 2019 at 3.4 percent and is on course to pick up to 3.9 percent in 2020 and 4.1 percent in 2021, the 2020 African Economic Outlook revealed.

"Investing in both education and infrastructure offers a greater growth payoff than investing exclusively in either. Working together, we can achieve it," she said.

The joint side event also witnessed the launch of another report, Africa's Dynamics of Development 2019, produced by the African Union Commission, in collaboration with the OECD Development Centre.

Released annually since 2003, the African Economic Outlook provides compelling up-to-date evidence and analytics to inform and support African decision makers.

Click here to access the full report.


Emeka Anuforo, Communication and External Relations Department, African Development Bank

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