Africa should focus on education – Annan

2012-05-10 15:25

Addis Ababa - Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan said on Thursday that African governments should commit to educating the continent's bourgeoning youth population to sustain economic growth.

Over 60% of Africa's population is under 30.

"We have a young bulge that is going to need lots of work, lots of jobs and governments should focus on that," Annan told reporters at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Ethiopian capital.

"We consider trade schools, preparing them or giving them skills that could employ them when they are out of school or allow them to get their own companies and work."

Annan noted that Africa has shown "remarkable" progress in recent years, in part by attracting increased foreign investment.

To continue advancing, he said, governments must concentrate on "the welfare of their people and come up with social and economic policies that try to effect... the lives of the individuals."

Seven of the world's fastest growing economies are in Africa, and investment in agriculture, infrastructure and mineral resources has blossomed in the past decade.

China is the continent's largest trading partner and has major investments in infrastructure and minerals across Africa.

Gao Xinqing, president of the China Investment Corporation, said Africa was a strategic partner for the Asian powerhouse.

"From China, we look at Africa really not only as a target of investment but as a potential coveted partner in many ways: culturally, historically, economically [and] politically," said Gao, who is co-chairing this year's WEF conference.

Eight African leaders and former British prime minister Gordon Brown are among the more than 700 participants expected at the three-day Addis Ababa WEF meeting that wraps up on Friday.

The conference is focusing on boosting public-private investment and fostering economic diversity to kick-start development across Africa.

  • Smell - 2012-05-10 15:43

    "We have a young bulge that is going to need lots of work, lots of jobs and governments should focus on that". Govrenments actually have limited power in creating sustainable jobs - everyone cannot be employed in the civil service. Governments can and should promote birth control. Yes, education and birth control, before procreation. This is not a racist thing, it applies to all.

      Moirics - 2012-05-11 12:08

      Corruption is an African disease! The whole of Africa is rotten due to corruption. \r\nI am a teacher in Namibia, and I would like to contribute the following: \r\n* We had a good education system, prior our independence.\r\n* Schools were fully equipped with technical subjects like woodwork, needlework, etc.\r\n* Technical subjects were removed frm the syllabi, and teachers started resigning. A full equipped technical high school was closed down and changed into a academic school. \r\n* Nów they see the need for a technical school. There are just learners who perform better technically, then academically. And government ónly realized that afterwards....

  • josta.shivuri - 2012-05-10 15:55

    Education is and has always been my cry! Education empowers not only individuals citizens but the nation as whole - economically, socially and politically etc. Debates will be logical and well thought out - based on reason and not foolish insults meant to discredit the opponent. Voting will be logical too (not blind loyalty that we are witnessing today). An effective and productive society is an "effective and productive nation." Somehow our leaders seem to divorce the two in their thinking. But I think that stems from a phobia of an educated society that will criticize of course and hold government accountable. ANC led government sees an uneducated society as an asset because otherwise they will loose votes. Hence they take their time or worse they don't even care about the quality of education. Reasonably educated (or logically inclined) people should be able to know that - it's not about emotions e.g If you can't deliver no vote for you. It should be as simple as that. No clouding with historical prejudice, struggle heroism or anything like that. Just give us service that's all we want, nothing else. We want quality education is that too much to ask?

      Felix - 2012-05-10 16:05

      Education leads to liberation.

      Dee - 2012-05-10 16:05

      BRAVO Josta! XXXXXXX - I'm sending you a big hug.

      josta.shivuri - 2012-05-11 07:59

      @Felix and Dee, We are not going any where without education as a continent. Education has brought about the sophistication we see around us. And one of the most important factor about competitive advantage whether national or at business level is education. The Americans, Europeans, Chinese, Japanese, South Koreans, Indians, Brazilians etc are more educated than us hence their economies are doing better than ours. Until we take education serious in this country the better for us as Africans (black and white). Competition is fierce out there. If you want to know, go ask Americans - they are extremely worried about China's rise.

      josta.shivuri - 2012-05-11 08:00

      @Dee, Well, I won't refuse a free hug!

  • David - 2012-05-10 16:27

    I think we all agree that education should be a priority, by all I mean the nation but not the govt. Govt is too corrupt and just keeps all the taxpayers money for their own ends.

  • Loyiso - 2012-05-10 17:08

    Good point Koffi Annan! ! !

  • Peter Zylstra - 2012-05-10 17:12

    Why worry about education. In SA you can become state president with a grade 4 qualification!

      josta.shivuri - 2012-05-11 08:03

      That's the message the ruling party is sending to the youth of the country. Hence "comrades" are not very educated themselves. We can't sit and look "comrades" bring our country down. We should get involved if we hope for a change we want to see.

  • James - 2012-05-10 17:45

    Some people are not educable. Pat Buchanan.

  • Victor - 2012-05-10 18:08

    wake up and smell the coffee dude Africa is focused on stealing period, they do not give a damn about their people !!!!!!!

      josta.shivuri - 2012-05-11 08:04

      You sound like you care Victor. What are you going to do about it? Sit and complain? I hope not.

  • norman.buchalter - 2012-05-10 20:09

    Africa may be a partner for the Asian powerhouse, nut it can only offer raw materials. The youth are neglected, the elders play political footsie footsie and the the countries and their people are left to burn, uneducated, unloved and denied all the freedoms that should really set them free.Without education, jobs and opportunity, Africa is burdened with modern day oppressors who are as bad if not worse than their proverbial colonial masters were. All the pomp and ceremony in the world does not hide the true story of Africa-with few exceptions.

      josta.shivuri - 2012-05-11 08:13

      If you are a partner and you can't read contracts you are in trouble. African contracts entered into with the Americans, European, Chinese countries are mostly robbery because we are just not educated enough to "do it ourselves" - we don't have the machines, technology, engineers, project managers, Accountants, Researchers etc. And we are not the best negotiators too. All theses skills require intense education and training. World class quality education I should add. The African struggle is not against imperialism and colonialism anymore but against educated economic predators who seek to benefit at our expense. They came and stole our cattle and land, and they are steal doing the same even today because we still have no knowledge about these "things". Afrika Arise

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