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Human capital development critical to tackle Africa’s socio-economic challenges – Experts

African countries have been challenged to develop necessary expertise in key areas of human development to address skills shortage. This, it is said, would go a long way in reducing poverty, gender inequality and improve equal access to education and healthcare by 2063.

This was the position of experts at a capacity building conference organised by a Harare-based African Capacity Building Foundation, held, recently, in the Zimbabwean capital.

Participants agreed that Africa’s socio-economic development continued to be hindered by lack of skills required to deal with problems such as non-inclusive growth, youth unemployment, climate change, worsening security and excessive reliance on export of primary commodities.

They also maintained that for the continent to reduce poverty, food insecurity, gender inequality, and improve upon equal access to education and healthcare, by 2063, it needed to develop the necessary expertise in key area such as health, education, infrastructure, agriculture, industry, resource mobilisation, trade, and regional integration.

A statement issued at the end of the conference was to the effect that: “Capacity remains the missing link in dealing with the critical development challenges facing Africa, as well as implementation of the development priorities like Agenda 2063 – a development plan of the African Union; the Sustainable Development Goals, the development strategies of regional economic communities and the development plan of each country.”

“Despite the economic and social progress achieved across the continent, the results have been differentiated and many countries continue to face human and institutional capacity deficits, which prevent them from achieving their full development potential.”

Many African countries are facing economic crises caused by falling commodity prices which sharply cut their revenues and slowed down the strong economic growth they had experienced a few years ago. To ensure that this problem did not recur, it was suggested that African countries should maintain “sound macroeconomic policies that support sustained and inclusive economic growth”.

Participants, mainly from African countries, pan-African organisations, multi-lateral agencies, civil society organisations, think tanks and universities, praised the Harare-based African Capacity Building Foundation, the host of the meeting, for its role in addressing Africa’s skills shortages.

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