…Harps on sound education 

From Uche Usim, Washington DC


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has stated that with the right leadership, education, focus and dedication, Africa could lead the world in the 21st century.

The global lender said Africa’s youth possessed admirable energy that could transform the universe if well nurtured and harnessed.

This was thrust of the IMF’s Analytical Report titled: “Building Tomorrow’s Workforce: Education & Africa’s Demographic Dividend” and

unveiled at the ongoing World Bank-IMF Spring Meetings in Washington DC.

The IMF also pointed to the growing youthful population in Africa as a major human resource advantage and developmental driver because old and shrinking population was the case in some jurisdictions.

Commenting on the report, Mr. Michele Fornino of the

African Department of the IMF said that it was expected that Africa would take full advantage of its demographics to lead the 21st century.

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He, however, cautioned that the leadership role “expected of Africa is not  guaranteed unless workforce of today has what it takes to work.”

“This hope can’t materialise unless the youths of Africa are proper educated to play required roles,” in various fields of human endeavour.

Citing the example of South Korea, Mr. Fornino said the Gross Domestic Product of that country would have been a mere  one third of its current level but for the decision of Korwa to aggressively educate its population.

He regretted that in Africa, research showed that three out of 10 children were out of school.

He said that in some countries the ratio was one out every 10 and indication of the inequality in terms of access to school between urban and rural dwellers, as well as inequality based on gender.

The IMF official further noted that a very large percentage of youth come out school without ability to read. “Too many youths of Africa come out of school unable to read.”

He, thus, urged African governments to make more budgetary provisions for the education sector by increasing  their current average of 3.5 percent (as a percentage of total budget) to 4 percent as recomended under the Millennium Development Goals.

Mr Fornino advised that the challenge was more than addiirional budgetary provisions but ensuring all variables were mobilised to ensure better outcomes, adding, “it is not just.about spending more, we need good outcomes.”

While acknowledging Global Best Practice in Fronties states, the bank’s staff called for improvement.