Jean Claude Bastos de Morais, a Swiss-Angolan entrepreneur highlights, “The economy of sub-Saharan Africa is witnessing a modest resurgence, with an increase of 2.4% in 2017 from 1.3% last year, in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”
As the region is in pursuit of boosting innovation, adapting to new technologies, and disrupting ‘business as usual’ practice, it is essential for African governments to bridge the prevailing skills gap.
However, some remarkable achievements in the region have given the natives, a reason to cheer. The number of enrolments of African children in schools has broken all records, and over the past 50 years, primary completion rates have doubled. Also, completion of lower secondary school has increased five-fold.
Howbeit, bigger challenges still prevail in the region. Almost one in every three children drops primary school. In sub-Saharan Africa, less than 50 per cent of children are able to complete lower secondary education, and less than 10 per cent get to higher education.
Governments of the African countries are excessively spending on education, but the fact is that millions of African children are still deprived of basic skills required for constructive participation as the labor force. Jean Claude Bastos de Morais believes that the root of this problem lies in the quality of public spending and investment.
Getting ahead, sub-Saharan African governments, on one hand, will have to strike the right balance between investing in overall economic inclusion, and investing in the skills of workforce, on the other.
Ensuring a strong economic growth can be attained by investing in foundational skills of the entire population, and not just the youth. In fact, many children across Sub-Saharan Africa complete their schooling, without learning the basic skills to advance in their lives.
“It is difficult to pull off a sustainable economic growth, if the population remains deprived of basic literacy and numeracy skills that allow them to fulfill their dreams as individuals,” de Morais further added.
To ensure a win-win situation for all, African nations must invest in basic skills, which will further enhance labor productivity and promote greater inclusion.