AfDB Chief Economist Emphasizes Women, Youth Empowerment

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The Chief Economist and Vice President of the African Development Bank Group, Professor Mthuli Ncube, has stressed the need for youth and women empowerment in African countries should growth of the African economy be realized.

Briefing the media Tuesday, May 20, at the AfDB conference center in Kigali, Rwanda, Professor Ncube stressed among other things that policy makers in African countries should create the condition that will enable youths to acquire vocational training in various technical disciplines, which would enable them get jobs.

He added that access to finance is cardinal to the growth of the economy, considering that if people have access, it will help them engage in entrepreneurship that also has trigger down effect on youths with technical skills to have job opportunities.

He also stressed that women’s involvement in entrepreneurship helps to bring economic boost, noting that gender balance in economy eases tension associated with dependency.

Earlier, the AfDB Vice President and Chief Economist indicated that for Africa to achieve what its people need in the next 50 years, such empowerment should be provided by policy makers.

The theme of the 49th annual meeting of the AfDB is “The Next 50 Years:  The Africa We Want.”

As the case may be, Professor Ncube mentioned that there is no doubt about the need for peace, prosperity, integration, stronger voice in world economy and people-centered Africa.

Highlighting some issues discussed in various sessions, he mentioned transparency and accountability, and Africa transformation as highly sensitive topics on agenda.

Comparing the growth of economies in Africa, Prof. Ncube noted that Southern Africa is growing strongly with South Africa topping while West Africa has a strong growth with Nigeria rising above the rest.

He underscored the challenge of property right to be hampering most African countries in engaging into Agricultural venture that many Africans have as an occupation.  He suggested that women be allowed to have some property rights and policy be put in place to deal with strangulation resulting from property right to allow people have land to make farms.

He also mentioned lack of feeder roads in many African countries as impediment to economic growth for the greater majority who rely on Agriculture to earn their living.  Making reference to Rwanda where the meeting for the AfDB currently ongoing, Professor Ncube praised the country for its current road condition which he said is empowering citizens to bring their products to the market.

Speaking on AfDB’s progress in Africa, Prof. Ncube said the bank has invested in many African countries through commercial banks to enable citizens have access to loan to meet their economic demands.  The African Development Bank according to the Vice President has also funded many infrastructural development projects in many countries, including Liberia.

One of its projects in Liberia is the Fish Town Harper Highway pavement which commenced about two years ago.

As the 49th meeting has commenced, stakeholders are in sessions discussing relevant economic issues that will bring transformation to the continent in the next fifty years.

Among the issues discussed are Agriculture, Infrastructure, Gender Resource Governance, Conflict in South Sudan and Investment.

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