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Africa fails on youth empowerment

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As Liberia joins countries around the world to observe the 49th national youth day, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation says governance progress in Africa lags behind needs and expectations of growing population, despite strong GDP growth over the last ten years. It notes that Africa has failed to generate economic opportunities for its booming youth population.

“Since 2008 the African average score for Sustainable Economic Opportunity has increased by 0.1 point, or 0.2 percent, despite a continental increase in GDP of nearly 40 percent over the same period. There has been virtually no progress in creating Sustainable Economic Opportunity, meaning it remains the IIAG’s worst performing and slowest improving category,” the report notes.

The 2018 Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG), launched on Monaday, October 29, by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, highlights that public governance progress in Africa is lagging behind the needs and expectations of a growing population, composed mainly of young people.

It points out that over the last decade, overall governance has on average maintained a moderate upward trajectory, with three out of four of Africa’s citizens (71.6%) living in a country where governance has improved but African governments have struggled to translate economic growth into improved Sustainable Economic Opportunity for their citizens.

“Defined as the extent to which governments enable their citizens to pursue economic goals and prosper, the almost stagnant Sustainable Economic Opportunity trend strikes a concerning contrast with demographic growth and youth expectations. Africa’s population has increased by 26.0% over the last ten years and 60% of the continent’s 1.25 billion people are now under the age of 25,” the IIAG narrates.

The report continues that African countries show increasing divergence in Overall Governance performance and continental progress is mainly driven by 15 countries that have managed to accelerate their pace of improvement over the last five years, noting that progress is most striking in Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco and Kenya, amongst others.

According to the IIAG, divergence is also reflected in Sustainable Economic Opportunity trends, while 27 of Africa’s countries have shown some improvement, accounting for 43.2 percent of Africa’s citizens, but Sustainable Economic Opportunity performance has declined over the last ten years.

“There is no strong relationship between the size of a country’s economy and its performance in Sustainable Economic Opportunity. In 2017, four of the ten countries with the highest GDP on the continent scored below the African average score for Sustainable Economic Opportunity and sit in the lower half of the rankings, namely: Algeria, Angola, Nigeria, and Sudan. Meanwhile two of the smallest economies on the continent, Seychelles and Cape Verde, reach the 5th and 6th highest scores in providing Sustainable Economic Opportunity for their citizens,” IIAG discloses. Report

By Ben P. Wesee

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