African growth too slow for expanding workforce - AfDB

ABIDJAN, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Africa's anticipated healthy annual economic growth of about 4 percent in coming years will still be too slow to create enough jobs for its fast-expanding labour force, a regional loan body said on Thursday.

In its annual report on the continent's outlook, the African Development Bank (AfDB) welcomed a gradual recovery from a 2016 trough that saw growth dwindle to 2.1 percent partly due to a sharp drop in oil prices and drought.

The bank said growth was expected accelerate to 4 percent in 2019 and 4.1 percent in 2020 from 3.5 percent in 2018.

But "projected medium-term growth of 4 percent is insufficient to make a dent in unemployment and poverty," it cautioned.

Africa's working-age population is projected to increase about 40 percent from 705 million in 2018 to almost 1 billion by 2030, the report said, citing African Union data.

"Only half of new labour force entrants will find employment, and most of the jobs will be in the informal sector. This implies that close to 100 million young people could be without jobs," it said.

Reversing a premature trend to de-industrialise will be key to improving the outlook for job creation, it said.

"More needs to be done to encourage large companies to set up businesses in Africa and to help small firms grow by removing constraints such as poor infrastructure, political instability, and corruption," it added. (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

2019-01-17 21:07:55

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