Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Africa Cannot Be Neglected

  Abebe Aemro Selassie, director of the IMF’s Africa department, warned, the international community would be “playing with fire” if it failed to help Africa recover from Covid and the impact of the Ukraine war.

“In 10 years, one out of every two individuals entering into the global labour force will come from sub-Saharan Africa – the very children whose education the pandemic has disrupted,” he said.

“The human capital we need to motor the global economy is not getting the attention it needs. It’s a massive collective failure,” he added.

“Almost certainly – unless we think robots are going to take care of everything – there is going to be a shortage of labour in most advanced economies, and even elsewhere.

“Despite all the innovations we have had, labour has shifted from one sector to another, and 60-70% of the population has remained in work.

“People will move to different professions, but people will still keep working. Globally, we are going to need labour to complement capital, and that labour input can, increasingly, only come from Africa.”

Selassie explained that the IMF had given sub-Saharan countries $50bn (£41bn) since March 2020 to support them during the pandemic, “but its effectiveness would be greater still if it was complementing, rather than partly offsetting, declining support from other development partners.”

The UK government, the fourth largest donor, has cut aid spending from 0.7% of its gross national income to 0.5%, which resulted in a 20% reduction in funding between 2020 and 2021 – from £14.4bn to £11.5bn. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has also halved humanitarian aid spending from £1.53bn in 2020 to £744m in 2021.

Neglect Africa now and we will face labour shortages globally, IMF warns | Employment | The Guardian

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