PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has outlined four strategies for the African continent to leverage on the potential of its human capital, key being reaping high on demographic dividend.
The advantage of the large population of youth in the continent if utilised well Africa will be able to reap high on its demographic dividend, she said.
Dr Samia made the remarks while officiating at the Africa Human Capital Heads of State Summit at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre (JNICC) in Dar es Salaam, on Wednesday.
“We must set clear priorities in family planning and sexual reproductive health education among the youth,” said President Samia, noting that enabling youth to make informed decisions on sexual reproductive health will help reduce early pregnancies and improve the lives of the youth and children.
She called on fellow African leaders, policymakers and other development stakeholders to accelerate investments in learning, health, and skills, to secure the productivity of the continent’s population as its greatest asset.
President Samia said another measure includes improving learning outcomes because education is the foundation and catalyst of generating desired goals.
She argued that the continent should increase financial investments as well as improve teaching models to bring desired results.
Similarly, she underlined investment in technology and adequate curricula, saying they are critical for accelerating change.
‘The most important thing involves leveraging investment in other sectors by putting in place necessary infrastructures. Among such include ensuring access to clean and safe water, energy and transport systems,” added President Samia.
She pointed out that the deliberations at the summit are a key cornerstone of African nations, determining the kind of human capital investment needed to bring about productivity and development in the African continent.
“There is no right time to deliberate on the human capital issue than now,” she stressed.
“For over a decade now the continent has passed through various stages of growth and major improvements have been achieved in different sectors of the economies,” noted Dr Samia.
Thus, she said various efforts undertaken have enabled African countries to emancipate themselves from economic dependency.
The Tanzanian leader said concrete measures were undertaken to ensure Africa is building its economy through its own resources.
In some of the countries, the efforts have registered success, while it was difficult to arrive at the similar milestones for others, she said.
Aside from the milestones attained, Dr Samia recalled that the continent was still facing major challenges of food insecurities, high unemployment rates, abject poverty and inequalities in the societies.
She called upon the African continent to embark on major revolutions in all important production and development spheres.
“As leaders, we should supervise and assess these goals and to attain revolution, we must use our own resources to emancipate the continent economically,” she said.
The president said statistics indicate that by 2050 the population of ten African countries will be among nations which account for the largest number of youths globally.
According to the World Economic Forum, over 60 per cent of people in the continent are youth, who are under the age of 25 years.
President Samia noted that projections indicate that by 2030, Africa will accumulate 42 per cent of all youth globally.
The average age of the youth consists of under 20 years, implying that Africa is made of mostly youths and children.
Demographically, she noted that this could either be good or bad for the continent, depending on how it will invest in a productive human capital by ensuring access to quality health care services, while promoting life skills education systems.
President Samia called upon African nations to have good policies which will also impact on the people economically.
She quoted the founding Father of the Nation, the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, who once said that “Development is people. People are the target, creators and beneficiaries of anything known as development.”
Dr Samia said African countries have to invest in leveraging on the development of human capital by equipping necessary skills in utilizing and transforming their environment.
According to her, the investment should start when a child is born by among others, providing proper nutrition and ensuring access to immunisation in eradicating stunting which reduces understanding during the learning process.
For proper education foundations, she said good strategies have to be employed from early childhood development in preparing children physically, mentally and innovatively.
For education to offer positive results, Dr Samia advocated for adequate curricula, which are in line with the market demands.
“The fourth Industrial Revolution requires countries to embark on science and technology and ensure that they are moving with time,” stated Dr Samia, indicating that the revolution has changed a lot in education, health, interaction and business among others.
The Africa Human Capital Heads of State Summit came in response to engagements with government focal points on the need to draw attention to the role of human capital in economic growth and elevate the discussion on the importance of investing in people.