Africa is expected to contribute at least 110 million jobs to the global workforce by 2035.
Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Tao Zhang made this declaration during his recent visit to Botswana.
Speaking at the Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC) at a dinner held in his honour by the Bank of Botswana (BoB), Zhang said he was confident this minimum target could be achieved.
He noted that Africa has a huge demographic dividend, plenty of natural resources and untapped potential in many sectors and thus should ultimately be creating around 20 million jobs a year.
“Yes, there is a huge opportunity. But in order to reap it, countries must put their house in order,” he cautioned, continuing that many sub-Saharan African countries need to reduce vulnerabilities from debt, while at the same time find ways to finance large infrastructure and social spending needs.
Zoning in on Botswana, Zhang stressed the need to divert to a new growth model that taps into the opportunities presented by the global backdrop.
“We are cautiously optimistic about Botswana’s prospects. We expect a rebound in growth this year and next to about 4.5% – rising further to 5% over the medium term,” revealed an upbeat Zhang who also noted that the recovery in South Africa, as stated in the latest forecast of the Reserve Bank, is not expected to be strong enough.
“Yet here too, there are risks, and efforts are needed to get the house in order and prepare the economy for the future,” he said.
Zhang’s revelation will come as welcome – if hard to believe – news to the country’s 80, 000 plus unemployed graduates currently struggling make a living.
Meanwhile, in his speech, BoB Governor, Moses Pelaelo said the IMF has been instrumental in facilitating targeted technical assistance and skills development to BoB staff.
“This technical assistance enables improvements in areas such as legislation, macroeconomic policy frameworks and formulation, regulatory approaches as well as structuring and governance of institutions as necessary,” he said, adding that in addition to improving operational competencies, access to training and skills development, the platform also encompasses interaction with other practitioners globally to share experiences.