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Ken Ofori-Atta explains why high unemployment in Africa will not end any time soon

The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, has lamented that the level at which Africa’s economies are growing, is too weak to contain the growing high unemployment situation in Africa

In that regard, Ken Ofori-Atta has pledged to work with finance ministers and governors of central banks in Africa to devise a common strategy that “can more effectively support accelerated growth, transformation and job creation in Africa.”

Ken Ofori-Atta announced this at the opening ceremony of the 2019 African Caucus Conference in Accra. Ghana is hosting the conference for the first time since the caucus was established in 1963. The theme is ‘Africa Beyond Aid: Enhancing Institutional Capacity and Innovative Finance for Sustainable Growth.”
He said although growth had resumed on the continent, “the pace is not fast enough.”

“It is not enough to provide decent job opportunities for our burgeoning young population,” said Mr Ofori-Atta who is currently the chairman of the caucus.

He linked the current high unemployment in Africa to the slow growth which is not to urge “the youth to stay here on the continent to contribute their talents rather than risking their lives on the perilous journey across the Sahara and the Mediterranean to Europe.”

The theme for this year’s conference is in consonance to President Akufo-Addo’s vision of building a Ghana that is independent of aid from developed countries and development partners.

About 350 delegates from ministries of finance and central banks on the continent are participating in the three-day event which was opened by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Other delegates were also drawn from development partners, including the African Development Bank (AfDB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

Last year, the World Bank said growth in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) was estimated at 2.3 per cent, down from the 2.5 per cent in 2017.

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This year the bank said growth was likely to pick up to 2.8 per cent “but still below the three per cent recorded in 2015.”
While that was encouraging, it said the growth rate lagged behind population growth, resulting in joblessness.

The Africa Development Bank (AfDB) estimates that of the 420 million young people in Africa aged between 15 and 35 years, “about one-third of them were unemployed, another third is vulnerably employed and only one out of six are employed with wages.”

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