Africa’s youth and natural resources, which remain largely untapped, present an opportunity for the continent to drive socioeconomic development while establishing itself as a global economic and social powerhouse, according to a new report released by market intelligence firm, PwC.
The report states that the continent’s burgeoning youth population and abundant natural resources, which include 30% of the world’s mineral reserves, 12% of the world’s oil reserves and 8% of the world’s natural gas reserves, can transition Africa from being an export-focused economy into a manufacturing hub, a development that will help strengthen local and regional economies.
However, the study emphasizes that in order to do so, Africa will need to optimize the management of these resources and enhance investment to fast-track and maximize development. What’s more, the need for a collaborative approach among African states and between the public sector, private businesses and local communities will be key if these resources are to be fully taken advantage of.
The report also identifies four areas that need to be addressed to ensure the sustainable development of the continent’s natural and human resources for gross domestic product growth and economic resilience. These include upgrading the education and skilling systems to prepare youths for jobs in high-growing industries; taking a local-first approach to building strong local and national economies; create job opportunities for women and youths in high growth industries; and leverage technology to upgrade high growth industries and to develop sustainable green industries.
By addressing these areas of focus, Africa will be well positioned to drive long-term and sustainable economic growth on the back of the local workforce and the maximization of the continent’s abundant natural resources.