Development and economic experts on Sunday said Africa countries need to encourage a better enabling environment and visionary leaders, not only in politics, but at all levels to guarantee efficient workforce in the future.

They spoke at one of the side events at the ongoing 52nd Session of the Economic Commission for Africa, Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, in Marrakech, Morocco.

The event was jointly organised by the UN African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP), in collaboration with the Policy Centre for the New South; a policy-oriented think-tank and High Commission for Planning of Morocco.

It was held under the sub-theme: “Planning for Tomorrow Workforce: is Africa Ready?”

Participants included Dr Karima Bounemra; Ben Soltane, Director, Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP); Lilia Hachen Naas, Director at the ECA Regional Office for North Africa; Dr Karim El Aynaoui, President– Policy Centre for the New South.

Others were: Peter Van Rooij, Deputy Regional Director for Africa, International Labour Organisation (ILO); Dr Frederick Agah Yonov, Deputy Director-General, World Trade Organisation (WTO); Dr Moubarack Lo, Chief Economic Adviser to the Prime Minister of Senegal, among others.

The panelists noted that globalisation, technological breakthrough, demography and climate change are having profound impact on labour markets, while affecting both the quantity and quality of future jobs.

“Africa cannot afford, nor does it have to miss these technological-driven transformational opportunities; as the world’s youngest region, with about 60 per cent of its population under the age of 25.

“With an estimated 10 to 15 million young people joining Africa’s labour market every year, the continent has a demographic dividend that can propel and sustain its transformation,” Soltane said.

She explained that the main objective of dialogue was to provide a platform for critical thinking on the relevance of African education and training systems in an evolving, digital and knowledge-based economy.

The IDEP chief added that the parley was to encourage exchange of views from different outlooks and opportunities for Africa to respond to the future of work.

She said African Governments need to start reforms in the education sector to train graduates for future jobs.

NAN reports that 40 per cent of employers from 43 countries reported difficulty filling open job positions. (NAN)