bulletin of the AFRICA PROGRESS PANELVolume 4, Issue 11 — 16 June 2011
Africa Progress Panel
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In the spring of life?
In North Africa they tweet and facebook to unite against autocrats while in other countries, their frustrations are simmering. In Benin they stood for hours in the scorching heat to cast their ballots to elect the candidate they believed would bring change. In Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa and other countries, they seize opportunities to bring new ideas to the table and stimulate political debate for better management of the economy. Today, Africa’s youth are anything but expendable in the process of development.
However, as stated by the UN Secretary General Ban on Africa Day (25 May 2011), the young people (between 15-35 years of age) are “one of Africa’s greatest untapped resources.” Every year about 9 million young people enter the labor market. But there aren’t 9 million jobs for them. With 60% of the population under 25 years of age according to the 2010 Africa Economic Outlook, Africa possesses the largest pool of young talent and workers in the world. Despite advances in education and economic growth, progress remains fragile, inequalities are widespread, and young Africans face major difficulties in finding decent jobs and participating in decision-making.
The AU has acknowledged the importance of youth participation in the process of economic growth and development, and has consequently organized the next AU summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, to address youth empowerment for sustainable development. Youth are assets to societies and can help drive economic prosperity if the appropriate institutions, policies and programmes are in place. With an ever increasing population, job creation and youth unemployment should, more than ever, be at the forefront of Africa’s growth agenda over the next decade.
In some cases, the question of empowering youth may seem awkward, particularly in countries where frustrated youth have contributed to the toppling of long-standing leaders. However, regime change does not guarantee access to education, healthcare, and credit nor does it guarantee that the next government will be more responsive to the youths’ needs. Tending to the challenge posed by such a young continent, reveals the need for a shift -not only necessary in the political sphere- but in all sectors of the economy. It is time to make way for new generations and empower them to fulfill the continent’s potential – to ensure they are part of the solution rather than problem.
At next week’s AU Summit, youth across the continent will be watching their leaders closely with hope that the wind of enthusiasm that is spreading across the continent does not turn into a storm of frustration when the Summit concludes. Young Africans as the new ‘drivers of change’ can push for and demand new kind of leadership and innovation. Let’s hope that their message gets across.
- Talks on the future of a divided Sudan have been disrupted by the latest escalation of hostilities in the country's Southern Kordofan state. The outbreak of violence on multiple fronts threatens stability and greatly increases fears of renewed war.
- As Democratic Republic of Congo prepares for presidential and parliamentary elections later this year, lawmakers pass a new electoral law that calls for the votes to be held in a single round in order to save cost. Analysts and observers say the election runs the risk of further destabilizing the country because of preparation delays and potential constitutional contradictions.
- Tunisia has postponed its first election following the overthrow of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, from July, to Oct. 23. While many people are proud of the Arab Spring that started in their town, they are still waiting to see progress brought about by the revolt.
- Côte d’Ivoire is preparing its new political administration. One question troubled the minds of many: Would the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) be included in Ouattara’s new administration? (Article in French).
- A global survey has named DR Congo and Somalia in their list of “Worst countries in which to be a woman.”
- Brain drain of medical staff from African countries to Western countries is a phenomenon that has not ceased to deteriorate Africa’s medical and healthcare structures. Countries with heavy disease burdens are faced with the departure of health workers in search of higher wages and better working conditions.
Young people […] want to make something of themselves. All they need is the chance to do so.
- Hillary Rodham Clinton, US Secretary of State while addressing the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on June 13, 2011
- At its 2011 annual meeting, the AfDB outlines its assistance plans for Tunisia, Ivory Coast, Uganda and Zimbabwe
- AfDB and New Faces, New Voices urge African Women to become more active players
- Delegates at the 100th annual conference of the ILO adopt a historic set of international standards aimed at improving the working conditions of tens of millions of domestic workers worldwide
- ILO unveils book calling for fresh thinking on key issues ranging from responses to the global economic crisis to globalization, and workers’ rights
- The OECD recommends more far-reaching reforms to improve the business climate in Morocco
- African countries should develop closer cross-border ties in dealing with traditional and emerging partners so they can boost sustainable and inclusive growth, according to the African Economic Outlook 2011
- According to the UN, global agriculture production needs to increase by 70% to meet food demand by middle of the century
- FAO launches a new initiative intended to produce more food for a growing world population in an environmentally sustainable way
- UN sets plan to try to stop HIV-infections among children by 2015
- UNCTAD’s Deputy Director says, trade and trade policy have become fundamentally important tools for attaining national development objectives and are seen as crucial elements in the road to achieving the MDGs
- The UNFCCC launches Finance Portal for Climate Change to provide information on activities funded in developing countries
WHO and the World Bank reveal estimates that shows more than 1 billion people with disabilities face substantial barriers in their daily lives
- World Bank says developing countries need to shift from crisis-fighting to policies that will sustain growth
- As part of the South-South initiative launched by the WB, Ghana learns from youth employment programs and social safety nets in Latin America and the Caribbean
In the blogs...
- Poverty Matters Blog: It's time to take the Tobin tax seriously, 14 June 2011More than 30 years after its invention by Nobel Laureate James Tobin, the Tobin Tax has still not been implemented. According to researches, a tax on financial transactions could raise over $25 billion to fund development.
- ONE Blog: Building a strategy to ensure no child born with HIV, 14 June 2011 Although impressive steps have been made in curbing child infection, 2009 alone saw 370,000 new infections among children- with most of the infections occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa.
- African Arguments Blog: Côte d’Ivoire: No War, but No Security, 13 June 2011 Côte d’Ivoire’s post-election conflict has seen both sides commit atrocities that are now being investigated. Despite the arrest of former President Gbagbo, peace has remained elusive to Ivoirians and insecurity still reigns in areas with armed forces targeting ethnic groups.
- The Daily Independent (Nigeria): I'll be victim of revolution in Nigeria – Obasanjo, 15 June 2011
Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo states that revolution is lurking around the corners of Sub-Saharan African states. The leaders of these states have failed in creating jobs for their youths and have barely made a dent in youth unemployment.
- Huffington Post (USA): The Future of funding: Development aid as an investment, 14 June 2011
Dan Silverstein, managing member of Heuristic Management, LLC asserts that partnerships between the private sector and government agencies are key to ensuring that foreign aid remains effective.
- IPS News (Pan Africa): The War in Libya: The African Union's mistake of policy and principle, 10 June 2011
Author argues that the African support of the UN-sanctioned war in Libya was a mistake and that the fiasco presents an opportunity as well as a challenge for the African Union on how it defines its future strategic interests.
- Pambazuka News (Pan Africa): What is the Unga Revolution? 9 June 2011
The Unga revolution is an attempt by young Kenyans suffering from price hikes of basic goods while their political leaders enjoy comfortable life styles to organize themselves and to take their lives into their hands.
- Financial Times (UK): African leaders must harness potential of the young, 6 June 2011
In an op-ed for the Financial Times, Mo Ibrahim discusses the need for African leaders to foster job creation and encourage entrepreneurship in the wake of the political upheaval in North Africa.
- The AfDB signs two major cooperation agreements with China and Brazil for the funding of projects and programs in its regional member countries
- Canada shifts its international-development policy to less direct aid in grants, and more backing of multilateral development banks to issue loans
- China pledges to promote peace and stability in west Asia and north Africa
- China offer loans worth $220m to boost small and medium enterprises in Africa
- Germany announces a new policy on Africa, with an emphasis on security, development and trade
- German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle presents Germany's new "concept for Africa," with the aim of breaking down stereotypes of the continent
- India pledges $5 billion in aid to African countries, thus emerging as a source, rather than a recipient of foreign aid
- Japan and Ethiopia sign a grant agreement of around $ 81m to support ongoing construction programs in Ethiopia
- UK PM, David Cameron pledges £814m to help prevent 1.4 million lives from dying from preventable conditions such as pneumonia and diarrhoea
- AfDB launches its ‘Annual Development Effectiveness Review 2011 (ADER)’ which reviews development trends across the continent and tracks how Bank operations have contributed to Africa´s development results over the last year.
- ODI’s global report on progress in development: ‘Mapping progress: evidence for a new development outlook' outlines four key drivers of development, and highlights star performers, surprise performers and potential performers across Africa and beyond for their progress in various areas.
- New UNEP report provides 16 measures, ranging from fixing leaky gas transport lines to better waste recycling as quick and easy ways to fight global warming while protecting human health and raising crop output.
- According to a new FAO Report, the world will increasingly experience water scarcity for agriculture as a result of climate change, a phenomenon that will affect the livelihoods of rural communities and the food security of urban dwellers.
- An interagency report examining how to better manage food price volatility states that “trade is an essential component of any food security strategy”.
|18-20 June||4th World Economic and Environmental Conference: Qingdao, China|
|20 June||Africa Gathering London 2011-‘New Media Revolutionizing Africa’: London, U.K|
|20-23 June||Africa Investment Summit 2011: Johannesburg, South Africa|
|22-23 June||G20 Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture: Paris, France|
|22-23 June||Africa Business Forum 2011 organized by the Commonwealth Business Council: London, United Kingdom|
|23 June-1 July||17th African Union Summit: ‘Youth empowerment for sustainable development:’ Malabo, Equatorial Guinea|
|24-25 June||CIF Partnership Forum: Cape Town, South Africa|
|27-28 June||An International Policy Summit: ‘Africa- Building on Growth:’ Brussels, Belgium|