21st Century Sub-Saharan Africa: The Required Skill Sets

21st Century Sub-Saharan Africa: The Required Skill Sets Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the home of the world’s ten続きを読む

SKY[Skills and Knowledge for Youth] ホーム 21st Century Sub-Saharan Africa: The Required Skill Sets

21st Century Sub-Saharan Africa: The Required Skill Sets

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the home of the world’s ten youngest countries, has been attracting both attention and expectation from the international community. SSA’s continent, Africa, is regarded as the ‘biggest frontier of the 21st century’ . The African continent is second-largest in the world, both in population and area. The growing working-age population of SSA not only creates a significant opportunity to tackle poverty, but it also provides an avenue to increase shared prosperity. However, the region’s workforce remains the least developed in the world, thereby limiting economic prospects.

Over the past two decades, SSA countries have recorded significant growth. The region has experienced a reduced rate of poverty as well as increased access to education. The completion rate of both primary and lower-secondary education has significantly improved, access to tertiary education has begun to expand in several countries, and there has been an increase in public expenditure on education. SSA countries have invested heavily in skills-building. However, learning outcomes for children in school remain persistently poor, and the number of out-of-school students remains high. These continue to create a massive gap in basic cognitive skills, literacy and numeracy skills across all levels – children, youth, and adults – with significant gender gaps. Not only is the region lacking in cognitive skills, but gaps also exist in skills such as socio-emotional skills and technical skills.

However, it is possible to achieve significant progress in skills building in the region, although the achievement will entail enacting systemwide change. To achieve relevance, efficiency, equitable access and quality in skills building, countries in the region will have to endure trade-offs that will produce distributed impacts and have a major bearing on the region’s development path. SSA receives a significant share of foreign direct investment (FDI) and foreign aid. The subcontinent has also entered into many development partnerships with the developed world. However, one question that begs for answers is – how will SSA countries go in genuinely making the region the ‘biggest frontier of the 21st century’?

(Adefolake Adeniyi)

References:
Arias, O., Evans, D. K., & Santos, I. (2019). The Skills Balancing Act in Sub-Saharan Africa: Investing in Skills for Productivity, Inclusivity, and Adaptability. Africa Development Forum. International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank, Washington, D.C.
The Government of Japan (2019). Africa – The “Biggest frontier of the 21st century”. Retrieved from https://www.japan.go.jp/japaninafrica/