Africa to dominate working-age population by 2075

THE World Bank’s (WB) County Director, Mr Nathan Belete has said by 2075, one-third of the world’s population and working-age will be Africans.

He made the statement in Dar es Salaam on Monday during the opening remarks at the Youth Side Event ahead of the Africa Human Capital Heads of State Summit, which opened with technical meeting.

Today, the session will continue with ministerial meetings.

Elaborating, Mr Belete said Africa is the only region in the world where the workforce will continue to grow in the coming decades, with the working-age population now at just over 600 million as of 2020 expected to grow by 450 million by 2035 to reach 1billion. The figure is expected to grow further and reach 1.5 billion people by 2075.

Thus, he said, those numbers are at the core of discussion for today and indeed for the coming days at the Heads of State Summit.

“Africa is a continent brimming with youthful energy, ambition, and potential for rapid economic growth if its human capital potential is harnessed as a matter of urgency.” he said.

Speaking on the Summit concept, Mr Belete said, human capital is the health, knowledge, and skills that people accumulate over their lifetimes. It is what determines a person’s productivity and earnings, and often, it’s the only asset poor people have.

“Human capital trajectories are set before a child is born, and human capital is rapidly accumulated during childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood.

Breaking the cycle of intergenerational inequality requires significant investments in human capital from the earliest age,” he explained.

According to him, in 2019, the World Bank launched the Africa Human Capital Plan, which sets out clear targets and commitments to boost Sub-Saharan Africa’s potential through its human capital.

Since then, countries and communities have boosted investments in Africa’s people, including a strong push to empower women and accelerate Africa’s demographic transition.

“We are keen to double down on our ambitious goals laid out in that plan. Between 2019 and 2022, the World Bank’s commitments to human development operations in Africa have reached a historic 34 billion US dollars, with 11.5 billion US dollars in new investments championing women and girls,” he noted.

He further said that the Africa Human Capital Heads of State Summit aims to accelerate human capital investment by bringing together leaders to prioritise country-specific roadmaps, technical knowledge, and financing.

Elaborating, he noted that the youth are central to this effort, driving momentum and focusing on investing in people as a core driver of productivity, resilience, and growth.

The summit will raise awareness of changing demographics, emphasise learning and skills as key productivity drivers, and position human capital development as a priority sector.

“It will also elicit commitments to two to three tangible financial and policy measures, reinforcing the region’s ownership of the human capital agenda as a priority area of sustainable development under the African Union’s Agenda 2063,” he pointed out.

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