By Omoh Gabriel
Creating opportunities for Africa’s young population is paramount for the positive development of the continent. This was the conclusion arrived at by participants that attended the Africa-Europe Entrepreneurs’ Dialogue. The event was hosted in Ghana by DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH, at the initiative of the Former President of Germany, H.E. Professor Dr Horst Köhler, Betty Maina and Prof. Fulbert Gero Amoussouga.
The conclusions of the three days dialogue are to serve as input into the Post-2015 Agenda on new universal goals. In forum agreed that private sector involvement is critical to leap frog Africa development. Speaking at the forum Mr. Bruno Wenn, Chairman of DEG’s Management Board said “Without lastingly successful businesses, there are no jobs. We have to make sure that more and more people in developing countries find qualified work that enables them to make a living for themselves and their families”.
Governments not only have to create an enabling environment for doing business at the national but also the international level. This includes, among others, resilient global financial markets that serve the real economy, an open and fair trading system, climatic stability, as well as curbed illicit financial flows.
A fair access to the domestic markets of industrialised countries and true regional integration are vital for African businesses to strive. Tax evasion and illicit financial flows from Africa have to be efficiently reduced by policies in both sending and receiving countries.
The exchange between the entrepreneurs and the young generation was another important aspect of the conference in Ghana. In the context of a Town Hall Meeting, students of the University of Ghana and vocational trainees discussed with the entrepreneurs on job creation in Africa. They exchanged views with the participants of the entrepreneurs’ dialogue on their expectations regarding Africa’s youth and the economy.
Horst Köhler emphasised that a new Post-2015 Agenda should pay special attention to the African continent, in view of the fact that Africa’s population is growing at twice the rate of Latin America or Asia.
He added that by just 2025, one in four of the world’s young people would come from Sub-Saharan Africa. “Young people need opportunities, they need jobs – and they are giving voice to those needs”. He called for a greater commitment in the area of vocational training in Africa on part of the companies.
“Education is the key to almost everything: to personal development and self-determination, but also to economic development and progress in society”. According to Köhler, this would also be in the interest of the companies, which need highly skilled workers.
Horst Köhler, Betty Maina and Prof. Amoussouga are Members of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda that submitted their recommendation to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in the end of May. This report feeds into the discussion about new development goals. The new agenda is to define a series of universally relevant goals. The private sector plays a key role.