Climate smart agriculture in the context of COP 23

While COP 23 is currently being held in Bonn, I thought it was interesting to present an update on one of our programs to support the fight against global warming, and aims to increase resilience to this phenomenon, which unfortunately our countries are facing as the first victims although they are in no way responsible for this situation.
Launched in 2014, this program, named Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) is derived from the policies defined and put in place by the African Union, including the ComprehensiveProgram for Agricultural Development in Africa (CAADP). Our organization, NEPAD, is in charge of coordinating and implementing this platform, which should directly benefit the States involved.
 
Climate Smart Agriculture is an agriculture that increases productivity, resilience and adaptation over the long term, while helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This program is therefore aimed at global food security and improving nutrition in the face of climate change. The CSA program plans to strengthen the capacities of agricultural stakeholders at all levels, especially small farmers and concerned institutions. It has an ambitious goal: to reach the target of 25 million African farmers practicing climate smart agriculture by 2025.
To this end, Africa and NEPAD are leading a country-driven and regionally-integrated initiative that provides the tools and platform for hosting partnerships that deliver tangible results. The structure has borne fruit: today we have developed several successful alliances with international NGOs like CARE International, Catholic Relief Services, Concern Worldwide, Oxfam and World Vision, but also with four technical partners including FAO, and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), for example.
Every year for the past three years, NEPAD has been bringing together experts, representatives of our Alliance’s countries and regions, and our partners to discuss and adress the important role of agriculture in combating climate change. Today, through this program, NEPAD is seen as a source of information, innovation and knowledge production on climate change in Africa. Our platform also helps to find international funding and partnerships for states that wish to develop effective resilience policies to climate change, based in particular on agriculture. We are therefore enrolling in a concrete action that is bearing fruit.
It remains to create the tools to measure the results of this new approach in the field. The transition of agriculture sectors (including crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture) to more sustainable and climate-smart production systems is indeed starting and without doubt on the ground. We therefore first need to assess the current and future impacts of climate change in each African state, identify current and future adaptation strategies, and create a favorable environment for farmers. We must continue our efforts and launch new projects as we have done already with success in states like Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia.
We are facing a long struggle, but the time has not come to give up. It’s about our future and the future of our planet.

Banking on African Infrastructure

Africa faces a yawning gap between its infrastructure needs and its ability to attract the foreign investment required to finance projects. The continent’s leaders must recommit to creating a more favorable investment climate, one that can attract capital while limiting investors’ risk exposure.

JOHANNESBURG – As the US Federal Reserve embarks on the “great unwinding” of the stimulus program it began nearly a decade ago, emerging economies are growing anxious that a stronger dollar will adversely affect their ability to service dollar-denominated debt. This is a particular concern for Africa, where, since the Seychelles issued its debut Eurobond in 2006, the total value of outstanding Eurobonds has grown to nearly $35 billion.

But if the Fed’s ongoing withdrawal of stimulus has frayed African nerves, it has also spurred recognition that there are smarter ways to finance development than borrowing in dollars. Of the available options, one specific asset class stands out: infrastructure.

Africa, which by 2050 will be home to an estimated 2.6 billion people, is in dire need of funds to build and maintain roads, ports, power grids, and so on. According to the World Bank, Africa must spend a staggering $93 billion annually to upgrade its current infrastructure; the vast majority of these funds – some 87% – are needed for improvements to basic services like energy, water, sanitation, and transportation.

Yet, if the recent past is any guide, the capital needed will be difficult to secure. Between 2004 and 2013, African states closed just 158 financing deals for infrastructure or industrial projects, valued at $59 billion – just 5% of the total needed. Given this track record, how will Africa fund even a fraction of the World Bank’s projected requirements?

The obvious source is institutional and foreign investment. But, to date, many factors, including poor profit projections and political uncertainty, have limited such financing for infrastructure projects on the continent. Investment in African infrastructure is perceived as simply being too risky.

Fortunately, with work, this perception can be overcome, as some investors – such as the African Development Bank, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, and the Trade & Development Bank – have already demonstrated. Companies from the private sector are also profitably financing projects on the continent. For example, Black Rhino, a fund set up by Blackstone, one of the world’s largest multinational private equity firms, focuses on the development and acquisition of energy projects, such as fuel storage, pipelines, and transmission networks.

But these are the exceptions, not the rule. Fully funding Africa’s infrastructure shortfall will require attracting many more investors – and swiftly.

To succeed, Africa must develop a more coherent and coordinated approach to courting capital, while at the same time working to mitigate investors’ risk exposure. Public-private sector collaborations are one possibility. For example, in the energy sector, independent power producers are working with governments to provide electricity to 620 million Africans living off the grid. Privately funded but government regulated, these producers operate through power purchase agreements, whereby public utilities and regulators agree to purchase electricity at a predetermined price. There are approximately 130 such producers in Sub-Saharan Africa, valued at more than $8 billion. In South Africa alone, 47 projects are underway, accounting for 7,000 megawatts of additional power production.

Similar private-public partnerships are emerging in other sectors, too, such as transportation. Among the most promising are toll roads built with private money, a model that began in South Africa. Not only are these projects, which are slowly appearing elsewhere on the continent, more profitable than most financial market investments; they are also literally paving the way for future growth.

Clearly, Africa needs more of these ventures to overcome its infrastructure challenges. That is why I, along with other African business leaders and policymakers, have called on Africa’s institutional investors to commit 5% of their funds to local infrastructure. We believe that with the right incentives, infrastructure can be an innovative and attractive asset class for those with long-term liabilities. One sector that could lead the way on this commitment is the continent’s pension funds, which, together, possess a balance sheet of about $3 trillion.

The 5% Agenda campaign, launched in New York last month, underscores the belief that only a collaborative public-private approach can redress Africa’s infrastructure shortfall. For years, a lack of bankable projects deterred international financing. But in 2012, the African Union adopted the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa, which kick-started more than 400 energy, transportation, water, and communications projects. It was a solid start – one that the 5% Agenda seeks to build upon.

But some key reforms will be needed. A high priority of the 5% Agenda is to assist in updating the national and regional regulatory frameworks that guide institutional investment in Africa. Similarly, new financial products must be developed to give asset owners the ability to allocate capital directly to infrastructure projects.

Unlocking new pools of capital will help create jobs, encourage regional integration, and ensure that Africa has the facilities to accommodate the needs of future generations. But all of this depends on persuading investors to put their money into African projects. As business leaders and policymakers, we must ensure that the conditions for profitability and social impact are not mutually exclusive. When development goals and profits align, everyone wins.

The potential and risks of the digital economy in Africa

In its latest report on the information economy entitled “Digitization, trade and development” [i], the UNCTAD highlights the growing impact of digital technology on African economies. While Africa continues to have the lowest rate of broadband Internet penetration, it is also the fastest growing continent in the world. Big data, artificial intelligence, mobile banking and 3D printers are already transforming the ways of the old economy. But in Africa, the breakthrough of the digital economy is particularly impressive.

By 2025, the digital contribution to African GDP is expected to catch up with Sweden and Taiwan. Are we not already talking about the “leapfrogs” of Africa in digital through mobile banking, e-commerce or even e-government? Faced with its many constraints – geographical, sanitary, ecological or agricultural – Africa has had to constantly look for new models and innovate to develop. Let’s take health as an example: in some countries in sub-Saharan Africa, some doctors are so rare in their specialty that they are only one per million inhabitants. Can we imagine a better opportunity to develop e-health?

Online retail is booming, with many actors benefiting fully from the dynamism of African demography and the increasing penetration of broadband Internet on the continent. Banking on this impressive growth, a company such as Jumia has gone from 35 million euros in sales in 2013 to 289 million euros in 2015. But beyond e-commerce and mobile banking, the digital economy gives rise to other projects with a collaborative dimension. This is the case, for instance, of the Agritools platform, which shares African technology initiatives to the benefit of farmers, creating a forum for high-level technological solutions for producers.

Today, Africa is forced to innovate in order to bypass its natural constraints and catch up with technological delays. But the next step in Africa is the move to “reverse innovation”. At the moment, Africa is adapting technologies from developed countries. Africa must now create its own innovations that could be adopted by developed countries.

Similarly, while the digital economy offers promising prospects for the future, we must not forget the risks associated with such a development. Several elements must be brought to our attention so that the new digital economy is inclusive and benefits the greatest number.

First of all, digital takes naturally the speed of states, which always take time to react to innovations. Governments must absolutely legislate for the protection of digital data so that the privacy of our citizens and the competitiveness of our businesses are preserved. Moreover, the digital divide is a real danger: inequalities in the use of these technologies can quickly appear between large and small companies, but also between different African countries. Finally, digital education must be placed at the heart of school curricula. The mastery of these technologies by our fellow citizens is essential in order to fully achieve the integration of Africa into the world economy.

Financing Africa’s infrastructure and agricultural development: Inclusive growth for economic transformation

New York, 17 October 2017 –  The case for financing infrastructure and agricultural development was made at the United Nations headquarters during Africa Week.

Chair of the  Africa Group, Mr Mohamed Siad Doualeh, Permanent Representative of Djibouti to the United Nations, made the call to look at ways to mobilse resources, investment, capacities, skills and technology in order to facilitate agricultural and infrastructure development in Africa.

As envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and Agenda 2063, partnerships will be the essential means of implementation for these development frameworks. In this context, African leaders have prioritised domestic resource mobilisation, through enhancing economic growth, improving the tax system and expanding the tax base, and curbing illicit financial flows while promoting public-private partnerships, and leveraging remittances, financial markets and pension and sovereign wealth funds.

Financing infrastructure and agriculture projects requires an enabling environment that includes adequate skills in project preparation and management, the availability of adequate financial products and institutions, a business friendly environment, adequate hard and soft infrastructure including the legal framework, comprehensive risk management, and political leadership.

H.E Jakaya Kikwete, Former President of Tanzania , reiterated the need for resources to be increased for agriculture and infrastructure. “Since the Maputo declaration was made in 2003 through Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme [CAADP], many governments have increased their budgetary allocations to agriculture. However, mechanisation is still lacking and a number of challenges still remain. Therefore, more investment in agriculture and infrastructure is needed to achieve inclusive growth,” he said.

Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO of the NEPAD Agency, concurred with H.E Kiwete in stating that agriculuture in Africa was revitalised through CAADP.  “As the development agency of the African Union, NEPAD  implements  continental  strategies and builds coherent plans through frameworks such as CAADP for agriculture and PIDA for infrastrcuture,” Dr Mayaki said. “ These and other continental frameworks are embeded in Agenda 2063 through which regional and national coherence is built,” he added.

Dr Mayaki went on to state that energy is a good example of the link bewteen agriculture and infrastructure. “More bankable projects are needed to attract the much needed investment in infrastrutre, ensuring that returns are high and risks are low.  NEPAD Agency’s desrisking report shows that Africa is not as risky as was perceived,” Dr Mayaki said.

“With the underutilisation of resources, coupled with population growth, Africa has not yet achieved self-sufficency in food security,” Prof Victor Harison, Commissioner for Economic Affairs at the African Union Commission stated.

The Commissioner also remarked that rural infrastructure is essential to accelarate agricultural development, emphasising that infrasturure and agricultural developement are prerequisites for meeting goals in Agenda 2063 and SDGs.

World Bank Senior Vice President, Mr Mahmoud Moheildin’s presentation showed that following a sharp slow down, recovery is underway in Africa, South of the Sahara. GDP in the region is expected to strengthen to 2.4 percent on 2017/18  from 1.3 percent in 2016. However, growth in cereal yields in Africa has been consistently lower than in other years, with infrastructure deficit  holding back growth

Prof Al-Amin Abu-Manga, Member of the African Peer Review Panel of Emminent Persons concluded  that, “Africa has reoruces, what needs to be strengthened is governance thereof.”

Building public health delivery systems that support Africa’s industrialization

New York, 17 October 2017 – “It is a fact that Africa is the second most populous continent in the world, with the population projected to grow by 25% by 2050 and 40% by end of the century. Yet the continent has health challenges that need to be addressed in order to support the growing population,” Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of the NEPAD Agency made the remarks at the organisation’s event during Africa Week in New York.

During the event on Building public health delivery systems that support Africa’s industrialisation, Dr Mayaki underscored the fact that Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals call for promotion of inclusive and sustainable industrialisation. Pharmaceutical manufacturing and mining are among the priority sectors identified in AU’s programme for Accelerated Industrial Development in Africa (AIDA). Africa requires a healthy workforce in order to realise targets for industrialisation which demands an efficient public health delivery system.

Africa continues to grapple with high disease burden, weak health care delivery systems and fragmented markets for medical products and health technologies.  As the develoment agency of the African Union, NEPAD has taken critcial steps  to address the continent’s disease burden by building systems that provide enabling environment for pharmaceutical sector development. This is through the African Medicines Regulatory Harmonisation (AMRH) Initiative which provides a sound foundation for strengthening regulatory systems and establishment of strong institutions to ensure long term sustainability.

Other programmes that the NEPAD Agency is facilitating and coordinating in the health sector include, amongst others; malaria vector control, development of research for health and innovation strategy, scientific validation and value addition of herbal remedies in order to promote African Traditional Medicines.

In her opening remarks, NEPAD Agency’s Head of Health Programmes, Mrs Margareth Ndomondo-Sigonda maintained that, “You cannot talk of sustainable socio-economic growth without addressing the health of the people who are the drivers of industrialisation.”

During the event, participants explored available options for health financing; promotion of research and development and innovation on medical products and technologies including traditional medicines; local production of medical products and health technologies for stronger health care delivery systems.

Dr Janet Byaruhanga, from NEPAD’s Health programme focused on strenghtening regulatory systems, local production of medical products  and access to finance.  She stressed the need to provide conducive environment for the private sector to secure capital for increased investment  in this sector. In addition, the pharmaceutical sector has huge potential to create jobs for youth through the use of modern technologies.

Speaking on the promotion of investments and creating knowledge based jobs, in improving competitiveness as well as public health,  Dr Paul Lartey, founding Chair of Federation of African Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations (FAPMA), made the case for reliable and sustainable capital for investment in manufacturing and assurance of compliance to good manufacturing practices and standards  in order to produce quality medicines.

The World Bank representative, Dr Andreas Seiter, Global Lead-Private Sector HNP, World Bank remarked that Africa should be proud of the achievements made in medicines regulatory harmonisation initiative. He indicated that progress made this far working through the reginal economic communities is commendable.  He highlited on achievements made in the East African Community (EAC), Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the impact of the African Union Model Law on Medical Products Regulation in assisting countries to review their national laws, adding that the momentum should be maintained.

In addition, the NEPAD Agency is investing in the fight against Tuberculosis and other Occupational Lung Diseases in the Mining Industry starting with Southern Africa.  Mrs Chimwemwe Chamdimba, Principal Programme Officer pointed out that TB is the top killer among infectious disesases in Africa. Currently it is being tackled among the most vulnerable populations by looking from three angles: TB and HIV; TB and poverty, and; TB and mining.

Africa Week: Integrated, prosperous, people-centred and peaceful Africa

New York, 16 October 2017 – “The international world must change the way it looks at Africa. Africa is a place of opportunity,” said Mr António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations during the opening session of Africa Week in New York.

Africa Week commenced with a high level event on Supporting an Integrated, Prosperous, People-Centred and Peaceful Africa: Towards the Implementation of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The rationale for this year’s theme for a prosperous African continent is one where different national economies are seamlessly integrated and the economic and social participation of all citizens is guaranteed and promoted. Governments and partners were therefore urged to work to ensure an environment in which entrepreneurship takes root and flourishes, as a means to stimulate economic growth and with a focus on peace and security.

In his opening remarks, Mr David Mehdi Hamam, Acting Special Adviser on Africa pointed out that the UN agenda is central for Africa’s prosperity and peace. “The question is not whether Africa can achieve its goals, but rather how we can facilitate the continent’s partnerships to achieve these goals. Africa is progressively overcoming its challenges towards the Africa We Want leading up to the World We Want,” Mr Hamam said.

In the same light, Mr Miroslav Lajčák, President of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly reiterated that, “Africa is rising. The World Bank has confirmed that after a period of stagnation, growth on the continent is on the up-swing. Africa is taking charge of its own development.”

Prof Victor Harison, Commissioner for Economic Affairs at the African Union Commission stated that achievements in Africa include implementation of the First Ten Year Plan of Agenda towards integration. “Industrialisation must spearhead development and rural infrastructure development will lead to greater transformation,’ Prof Harison said.

Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO of the NEPAD Agency focussed on what not to do in order for Africa’s transformation to be realised. He stressed on the need for countries not to implement solutions that contradict regional priorities, if integration is to be attained. With regards to people-centred transformation, Dr Mayaki called for the broadening of partnerships, that is, governments, private sector and civil society. In order to realise a peaceful continent, he emphasised on the need for raising sufficient levels of youth employment through labour intensive industries, coupled with inclusive governance.

Prof Mahamoud Youssouf Khayal, Chairperson, African Peer Review Panel of Eminent Persons, underscored the fact that both Agenda 2063 and 2030 Agenda are people centred, and the African Peer Review Mechanism for Africa is also people centred.

Ms Chinwe Esimai, Managing Director and Chief Anti-Bribery and Corruption Officer,
Citibank, made the point that through Agenda 2063, technology and innovations have the potential to root out corruption and contribute to prosperity.

The events of Africa Week present an opportunity for open discussion on issues that are in line with the implementation of goals set out in the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These two Agendas are mutually reinforcing as they focus attention on inclusive and sustainable structural transformation across all dimensions of sustainability including governance, peace and security and sustainable development.

Growth Without Industrialization?

I share with you a very good article by Dani Rodrik, an economist whom I appreciate very much. This paper also illustrates how reality sometimes goes faster than economists can predict. We must therefore be agile and flexible in our approach to industrialization policies.

Low-income African countries can sustain moderate rates of productivity growth into the future, on the back of steady improvements in human capital and governance. But the evidence suggests that, without manufacturing gains, the growth rates brought about recently by rapid structural change are exceptional and may not last.

CAMBRIDGE – Despite low world prices for the commodities on which they tend to depend, many of the world’s poorest economies have been doing well. Sub-Saharan Africa’s economic growth has slowed precipitously since 2015, but this reflects specific problems in three of its largest economies (Nigeria, Angola, and South Africa). Ethiopia, Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Rwanda are all projected to achieve growth of 6% or higher this year. In Asia, the same is true of India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Lao PDR, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

This is all good news, but it is also puzzling. Developing economies that manage to grow rapidly on a sustained basis without relying on natural-resource booms – as most of these countries have for a decade or more – typically do so through export-oriented industrialization. But few of these countries are experiencing much industrialization. The share of manufacturing in low-income Sub-Saharan countries is broadly stagnant – and in some cases declining. And despite much talk about “Make in India,” one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s catchphrases, the country shows little indication of rapid industrialization.

Full article here

Malnutrition is not just hunger, it is also a mortgage on the future of our populations

There is sometimes pleasing news about the progress of our continent. Recently, for example, a report of the Malabo-Montpellier Panel was published as part of the Forum for the Green Revolution in Africa (AGRF), which met in Abidjan. This report, entitled Food: How can Africa build a future without hunger or malnutrition?, reported that many African countries have been able to drastically reduce malnutrition over the past 15 years. But what is stressed above all by the food security experts involved in this study is that these good results have been achieved through strong political will in each of the states concerned.

 Disparities remain large by country, but the report points out that the proportion of people suffering from hunger has declined overall from 28 to 20% in Africa between 1990 and 2015. However, the total number of people is increasing due to population growth which is indeed a multiplier of the problems of our countries (see previous articles).

According to the report, “some countries have made remarkable progress. Senegal, Ghana and Rwanda all reduced the number of people suffering from malnutrition and the number of children suffering from stunting by more than 50%. Angola, Cameroon, Ethiopia and Togo have achieved reductions of more than 40%. “

Panel Co-Chair Joachim von Braun explains that “Governments are able to fight malnutrition when they put it first in their agenda and in their inter-ministerial implementation programs and in close collaboration with partners. Investment is needed for crisis prevention and the development of programs to build resilience to climate stress“.

Several initiatives are highlighted in the Panel’s report because they have borne fruits in countries as varied as Angola, Senegal or Ghana. In Angola, a multisectoral approach to reducing malnutrition and coordinating actions and programs at the level of the Ministry of Agriculture supported by the Ministry of Health has greatly contributed to the successful outcome of the National Food and Nutrition Security Strategy. In Senegal, a unit to fight malnutrition was set up in 2001, followed by the launch of the Nutrition Enhancement Program in 2002. Finally, in Ghana, which has succeeded in halving the number of inhabitants affected by hunger, the authorities have decided to integrate the nutritional issue at all levels of government policy.

It should be remembered that malnutrition is not just hunger. Indeed the fact of eating poorly and not eating enough, has long lasting and profound consequences on the physical, but also mental development of children, and these consequences will always be there when these children become adults, especially intellectually. Secondly, there are obviously consequences of malnutrition that are part of public health. This question must therefore be taken very seriously by the rulers.

A simple example: contrary to what one might think, Africa is also threatened by obesity. Experts reminded us: “The consumption of low-cost, low-nutritional foods, as well as the reduction of physical activity in the middle class, increase the levels of obesity. The estimated prevalence of obesity among children is expected to reach 11% by 2025.

Finally, the report points out that despite these encouraging results, much remains to be done. “Significant challenges still need to be addressed. To achieve the goals set out in the African Union’s Declaration of Malabo and Agenda 2063, governments must learn from their past successes and redouble their efforts to address the triple scourge of hunger, malnutrition and obesity on the continent said co-chairman of the Panel, Dr. Ousmane Badiane.

Climate change is of course a particularly important threat, but also urbanization, which is causing a lot of pressure on food producers.

Human capital: Africa still has a lot of progress to make

The World Economic Forum recently published a report on an often difficult to measure reality: the economic value of human capital. The report, titled Global Human Capital Report 2017, measures the knowledge and its levels that enable human beings to contribute to the global economy throughout their lives. Each of the 130 countries studied in the world is ranked in this index, which unfortunately no doubt shows that Africa is lagging behind.

As often in these rankings, the United States and Western Europe are at the top, with a rate of more than 70% of development of their human capital. For their part, the countries of Africa, like those of Southeast Asia and the Middle East, are below 60%. On average, sub-Saharan Africa scored 52.97%, and this region ranks last good, according to the report. However, there are disparities in Africa that are sources of inspiration: countries such as Rwanda (71), Ghana (72), but also Cameroon (73) and Mauritius (74) the 60%. There is therefore no fatality. We will come back on this idea.

The World Economic Forum’s report explains that it has studied 26 countries south of the Sahara among which there is a great disparity of wealth. But, “despite this comparatively high regional diversity in income levels, the Sub-Saharan African region exhibits a number of similar patterns across all age groups and aspects of its human capital potential profile. In particular, Sub-Saharan Africa scores highly on the Deployment subindex, due to high labour force participation, with five of the top 10 countries hailing from the region”.

However, with below-average Capacity and Know-how subindex scores, the region as a whole has much to benefit from developing a greater share of its human capital from deployment beyond routine occupations”, experts noted. They are also concerned that the most economically and / or most populous economies remain at the bottom of the scale.

Thus, Nigeria and Ethiopia are at the bottom of the ranking, respectively in ranks 114 and 127. However, to moderate this finding, these two countries are also the most populous in Africa. South Africa, considered one of Africa’s leading economies with Nigeria, is ranked 87th. But the report is not just bad news. The two top-ranked countries in the region, Rwanda (71) and Ghana (72), owe their comparatively strong performance to, respectively, almost completely closed education and employment gender gaps and significantly improved educational attainment of the country’s younger generations. “Like Kenya (78), both countries benefit from the stock of know-how embodied in large medium-skilled employment sectors and comparatively strong education quality and staff training, laying the foundation for building their future human capital potential. However, all three countries still have room for further improvement in their secondary education enrolment rates, ensuring this progress is shared as broadly as possible across their populations”, the report stressed.

Quality secondary education is the cornerstone of the entire education system because it corrects the deficiencies of primary education and prepares adequately for tertiary education. The example of these countries demonstrates that there is a need for it, that there is no inevitability, and that Africa can also, when it conducts good policies, achieve successes. In the global competition for human capital, Africa with its growing youth, of course has a card to play.  In particular, it must ensure the training of its young people in the trades that are lacking on the continent: engineers, financiers, economists, miners, among others. There are pools of developing jobs, but the shortage of skilled African personnel forces investors to hire expatriates in certain sectors requiring special skills. There, too, there is no fatality.

Tourism is a key-sector for inclusive growth in Africa

One of the consequences of globalization is that “the world has become flat” if I were to appropriate the expression of the American columnist Thomas Friedman. Indeed, the development of transport, in particular air transport, and the consecutive decline in prices, have led, among other things, to a sharp increase in tourist flows. This not counting the window opened on the world by internet making us want to go to discover the world beyond our garden.

Africa also benefits from the increase in tourism flows. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the continent welcomed 57.8 million tourists in 2016, 4.4 million more than in 2015. According to UNWTO projections, tourism in Africa could reach 134 million by 2030. In its 2017 report on African economic development, UNCTAD draws our attention to the economic importance of tourism on the African continent: tourism accounts for 6.8% African GNP and represents more than 21 million jobs (about one in fourteen jobs). In total, tourism is the continent’s second largest sector.

One of the interesting points highlighted in the UNCTAD report is the fact that it is the Africans themselves who are increasingly driving tourism demand in Africa. Indeed, four out of ten international tourists are Africans. Tourism is a sector especially interesting to study because it reflects the stakes of our continent: the weight of Africans in international tourism in Africa underlines the emergence of an African middle class, while the obstacles to its development are the same as for the economy in general: lack of infrastructure, energy deficit, hindrances to the movement of people…

Africa has such an untapped potential. Indeed, these figures must be put into perspective as tourism accounts about 10% of GDP elsewhere in the world. If the total number of tourists is reported to the continent’s population (about 1.2 billion), the figure of 57.8 million tourists is low. Let us recall that a country like France welcomes more tourists (about 83 million) than it has inhabitants (about 66 million) …

However, like other sectors of the African economy, tourism in Africa could benefit from the digital revolution. A new generation of entrepreneurs wants to show another side of Africa, more authentic, by showing other things than the classics of African tourism. Three innovative projects (Tastemakers Africa, Hip Africa, Visit Africa) led by diaspora entrepreneurs participate to the change of the image of the continent. The use of social networks is a powerful marketing tool for these websites, notably with Instagram.

NEPAD also addressed this issue through the Nepad Tourism Action Plan (TAP) on the recommendation of the African Conference of Tourism Ministers. The TAP will serve as a roadmap for sustainable tourism for the African continent. The plan focuses on six key points: the political and legislative environment of tourism; its institutional capacity; tourism marketing; R & D; investment in infrastructure and tourism products; human resources and quality control. NEPAD considers tourism as a powerful tool for both regional integration and socio-economic development that supports poverty reduction.

I will therefore speak on this theme of improving the engine of growth in Africa through sustainable tourism during a round table that we will organize on September 21 at the 72nd session of the the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). According to me, tourism is a real opportunity as it can be used for transformative and inclusive growth, in particular by facilitating the inclusion of vulnerable communities and by participating in the preservation of our environment.