Chakwera, Nyusi hint on human capital development

PRESIDENTS of Malawi and Mozambique have highlighted the success attained by their respective countries in human capital, stressing on education and skills development, innovation, science and technology, health and nutrition as central areas of focus.

Malawi President Dr Lazarus Chakwera and his Mozambique counterpart Filipe Nyusi made the remark on Wednesday during a panel discussion on how could Africa utilise its youth population fully to attain agenda 2063.

The panel discussion was part of the African Human Capital Heads of State Summit held in Dar es Salaam, on Wednesday.

According to the World Bank the overall theme of the Summit is linking investments in human capital to economic growth and harnessing the demographic dividend, by addressing learning poverty and the skills gap for youth and women.

Malawi President outlined the number of areas of focus, including investing in education and skills development, health and innovation, to address challenges that face the existing youth population in African countries.

“Nevertheless, challenges that are impeding youth productivity including low access to quality education and skilled development, high adolescents’ fertility, drugs and substance abuse and child marriages … we have to make sure education and skills development, science, technology and innovation health and nutrition are central area to focus on,” he said

Dr Chakwera expressed his optimism in taking the advantage of exiting youth population for the economic growth of the continent.

“Our 2018 population census stated that 80 per cent of our 17 million people were of the age under 35, the same report showed Malawi fertility has declined from 5.7 children per woman in 2010 to 4.2 per woman in   2018 …

we believe the decline has a signal that there’s demographic window for economic growth if the youth population is moved into a labour force “, Malawi President added.

Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi

In ensuring the youth population is moved into labour force, he said Malawi tried in its level best to improve education curriculum to meet the demands of the labour market.

“We (Malawi) have completed to review the early childhood curriculum and we are in a process of reviewing education and training curriculum for primary, secondary, vocational and tertiary educational levels to include 21st century skills that meet the demands of the labour market,” he added.

Fielding a question posed by a panel moderator on how Mozambique is taking measures to improve the female labour force participation, President Nyusi said the government has invested in education and practical training from primary to secondary school.

Moreover, he said the Mozambique government managed to improve the learning environment to ensure equal accessibility to education between both boys and girls.

In a related development, President Nyusi underlined the importance for the African countries to invest in vocation training, to move the youth population into labour force.

“If we invest in human capital and believe in gender equality, we will be able to overcome many challenges that face us … African governments must concentrate on investing in improving education”, Mozambique President emphasised.

For his part, the President of São Tomé and Príncipe, Mr Carlos Vila Nova, said half of the population in São Tomé is aged under 35, while insisting on investing in human capital, particularly  youth and properly utilising the existing youth population to the prosperity of Africa.

“If the youth workforce is not used well, it will become a problem, so what we need is to implement strategic policies that will enable us to benefit from the dividend of human capital” he added.

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