The African Development Bank says sustained growth on the continent should create jobs, which drive poverty reduction and make growth more inclusive.
In its flagship African Economic Outlook 2018 released on Wednesday, the bank said, so far, Africa’s recent high growth rates have not been accompanied by high job growth rates.
“Between 2000 and 2008, employment grew at an annual average of 2.8 percent, roughly half the rate of economic growth. Only five countries —Algeria, Burundi, Botswana, Cameroon, and Morocco—experienced employment growth of more than 4 percent,” reads the report in part.
The report notes that Between 2009 and 2014, annual employment growth increased to an average of 3.1 percent despite slower economic growth. But this figure was still 1.4 percentage points below average economic growth.
“Slow job growth has primarily affected women and youth [ages 15–24]. Africa is estimated to have had 226 million youth in 2015, a figure projected to increase 42 percent, to 321 million by 2030.
“The lack of job growth has retarded poverty reduction. Although the proportion of poor people in Africa declined from 56 percent in 1990 to 43 percent in 2012, the number of poor people increased. Inequality also increased, with the Gini coefficient rising from 0.52 in 1993 to 0.56 in 2008,” the report reads.
The bank said Africa will become the youngest and most populous continent in the next few decades as its labour force will rise from 620 million in 2013 to nearly 2 billion in 2063.
The report said a “demographic dividend” thus provide a great opportunity for Africa—and the rest of the world, which is expected to experience significant labor shortages. But technological advances could reduce its value.