GENEVA –“While there is no silver bullet to create the millions of jobs that Africa needs and to make sure nobody is left behind, opportunities now abound, provided we get the basics right,” African Development Bank President Dr Donald Kaberuka said in a speech at the ILO.
“There is no escalator, on the contrary, it is a hard slog up the stairs,” he said in an address to members of the ILO African Staff Association.
He added that Sub-Saharan Africa now has enormous opportunities as newly found natural resources and urbanisation increase demand for infrastructure and services.
Dr Kaberuka spelled out his vision for the sustainable development of Africa, saying that raising agricultural productivity and getting poor children - both girls and boys - into quality education are key to creating sustainable jobs.
He also emphasized the need for strong public investment in infrastructure, transport and connectivity. Policies stimulating social inclusion and social protection are critical, he added.
“Sustainable economic development should be one that leaves no one behind,” stressed Dr Kaberuka, adding that “best practices on how to deploy effective safety nets are now well established.”
He also highlighted the need to create decent jobs that generate long-term income, by attracting manufacturing investments from Asia.
In his welcoming remarks, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder referred to an observation made earlier by Dr Kaberuka, who had characterized Africa’s present situation as one of strong economic growth coexisting with massive poverty and exclusion, which is not, in any region, an ingredient for sustainability. “Nor is it, from the ILO’s perspective, an ingredient for social justice,” added Ryder.
Sub-Saharan African countries (not including South Africa) are expected to grow at 6.5 per cent next year.
“We strongly believe in Africa’s potential and the African Development Bank has a key role to play in shaping patterns of growth that can simultaneously yield decent and productive jobs nationally and regionally,” said Mr Ryder.