BERLIN, Germany, September 9, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Since the turn of the millennium the African continent has seen unprecedented growth. Six of the ten fastest-growing economies worldwide are located in Africa. So far, African economies have proven resilient to the repercussions of the global financial crisis and declining commodity prices.
However, poverty and hunger rates remain stubbornly high, while progress in health and education is uneven. Huge inequalities persist between and within countries, and between women and men. In many areas, low productivity and investment as well as weak or non-existent infrastructure are holding back economic and development progress. The employment markets offer too few jobs outside the agricultural sector. Another challenge is climate change and its effect on agricultural productivity.
The soon-to-be-adopted global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union Commission’s Agenda 2063 and its Common African Position provide Africa and the international community with key cooperation frameworks for addressing those challenges. This will be a renewed momentum toward innovative development strategies that recognise the continent’s specific opportunities and challenges, especially with regards to regional development and job creation in the context of an unprecedented demographic boom. Africa’s population is set to double by 2050, bringing 47 million more young people into the labour force each year. Implementing innovative territorial policies to promote balanced regional development and to derive the most benefit from emerging rural/urban dynamics will be key to tackling the demographic dividend.
These issues are at the heart of today’s 15th International Economic Forum on Africa: “Africa beyond 2015”, which was opened by Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Gerd Müller, and Stephan Kapferer, Deputy Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). High-profile leaders from Africa as well as from OECD and non-OECD countries, amongst them President Mahama from Ghana, former German President Horst Köhler and Kofi Annan, President of the Africa Progress Panel and Chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation, are gathered in Berlin to share their experiences and visions with more than 500 Forum participants.
For the first time in its history, the Forum was convened outside Paris. It has been organised by the OECD Development Centre for fifteen years, and this year it is co-organised with the German government in partnership with the African Union Commission (AUC) for the second consecutive year. By hosting the Forum this year, Germany has highlighted the great importance that it attaches to Africa and to development topics during its current G7 presidency.
Today’s debates build on the conclusions of the African Economic Outlook 2015, a joint report by the African Development Bank, the OECD Development Centre and the United Nations Development Programme.
Follow the discussions on #Africa Forum.