The Youth hold the key to rapidly restart the economy after Covid-19 crisis, AfDB tells West African countries

Economic governance
Wednesday, 15 July 2020 14:33
The Youth hold the key to rapidly restart the economy after Covid-19 crisis, AfDB tells West African countries

(Togo First) - To hasten their economic recovery, post-Covid-19, West African nations should rely on their youth. The statement was made by the African Development Bank in its recent regional economic outlook for 2020. 

In the report, the institution said “West Africa’s burgeoning youth population offers a strategic workforce which can be harnessed for employment and economic growth, despite a COVID-19 pandemic that is devastating the continent and global economies.” 

The Pan-African entity added that “as a result of the pandemic, growth in the West African region, which was poised to expand by 4.0 percent in 2020, following growth of 3.6% in 2019, is now projected to contract by -2.0 percent in 2020, and could fall by as much as -4.3 percent in a worst-case scenario.” 

While it is clear that oil and tourism-dependent economies will suffer the crisis the most, with their export revenues falling, it is also the case for tax revenues whose fall will cut budgetary margins, and therefore deepen imbalances of external accounts. The latter will in turn cause public debt to soar. 

According to the AfDB, Africa could lose as much as $236.7 billion of cumulative GDP, in 2020-2021.

Investing in human capital 

To tap into the potential of the youth, the pan-African bank recommends measures aimed at improving their skills, thus developing a more competent labor force in West Africa. Also, according to the lender, West African governments should accelerate improvements in digital infrastructure, put in place incentives to encourage private investments in skills development, and ramp up public spending in education to enhance skills of the region’s labor market. 

Ayi Renaud Dossavi

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