To protect the continent from rising vulnerabilities, political leaders in Africa must invest in improving its human capital. This was the summation of stakeholders at a Pre-Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development High-Level Dialogue (Pre-COM 2023 Dialogue), held virtually on Friday, March 10, 2023.
The webinar was organised by the Economic Commission for Africa Sub-region for West Africa (ECA/SRO-WA).
Participants at the webinar stated that improved human capital will lead to a decline in vulnerable communities, particularly women and youths.
One of the speakers, the Commissioner in charge of Human Capital and Social Affairs, ECOWAS, Professor Fatou Sarr, said wealth creation was key to breaking societal vulnerability. However, to create wealth, she noted that women and youths in Africa need education.
“Wealth creation can only be done if we strengthen the capacity of these young people and women to have the skills and access the wealth. And of cause, they also need training and education. Social safety networks are indeed very important, but they are only transitory. “We need to ask ourselves what kind of Africa we want in 25 to 30 years and set up the infrastructure to undertake that today.
Sarr also emphasised the need for Africa to improve its communication network. She noted that developed countries could scale through their energy and communication channels.
She said these are critical areas enabling the continent to move up the ladder and have better access to education and health.
Sarr urged collaboration among member states to enable the sub-region and continent to make progress that would yield desired outcomes.
Speaking further, the Director-General, Planning, Ministry of Planning in Niger, Mainassara Assouman stated that tackling the human capital drain must align with addressing unemployment and insecurity.
He said, “There are no miracle ingredients in dealing with insecurity. We do not have magic solutions. The issues of security must go hand in hand with issues of development.”
Assouman noted that employment for the youth is one of the solutions to insecurity.
“The first thing, therefore, is to develop human capital and align it to employment or consider the social aspect of employment for the youth.
“And to associate that with issues related to development, issues of development are very important, and they offer a response to issues of life for people in the different areas, ” he said.