The White House has convened more than 50 African heads of state and government, US and African corporations, as well as members of civil society to strengthen alignment between the United States and opportunities for trade and economic investment in the continent.
Africa is finally being recognized as the next major emerging market, access to new markets, consumers and resources. In fact, Africa, with a GDP of more than $2 trillion in 2013, is now larger than India’s. Topics being addressed include investing in women, health, resilience and food security in a changing climate, combating wildlife trafficking, as well as an emphasis on forging more inclusive partnerships between the public and private sectors.
In addition to combating corruption and enforcing transparent business practices, there needs to be more education and advocacy for the continents pressing social, environmental and cultural challenges including impacts of climate change and poverty.
While the theme of the U.S./Africa Summit is about “Investing in the Next Generation,” at a fundamental level, we need to tackle lack of access to education and interrelated links between poverty and the provision of basic human needs such as food and water.
Today, there are 30 million children in Africa who are still out of school and according to the 2014 Education for All Global Monitoring Report, the shortage of quality teachers is the key problem in the efforts to provide children with quality education, skills training and potential jobs for our future generations.
While there are considerable benefits and economic potential for the United States, Africa’s economic growth and prosperity will be driven by primarily “Investing in its Youth” and creation of jobs for the continent.
We are to be reminded that one of the Millennium Development Goals set by world leaders in 2000 was to achieve universal primary education by 2015.
By Samantha Taylor, Founder of Reputation Dynamics