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Investing in people not an option for Africa in 2019 Updated for 2021

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Updated: February 25, 2021


At the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Meetings in 2018, nations, especially African nations, were repeatedly told to invest in people along side infrastructure.

Although there were, and still are, many global challenges, including climate change, sustainable development, lingering poverty and famine, as well as disruptive technology, human capital development was a top priority in 2018.

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This, experts argued, was because the world was being driven more and more these days by the knowledge-economy.

The invention of an App such as Facebook, Twitter, Uber or LinkedIn can transform lives and affect the way billions of people communicate, look for jobs and get to work around the world.

Besides, investing in people can help find solutions to the challenges of poverty, inequality and many others.

In a newly compiled video posted on YouTube, the World Bank recalled the importance of investing in people in the words of experts.

Knowledge has always been a key ingredient to development and advancement but it is even more so now with a highly interconnected and technology-dependent world.

According to the World Bank, without an urgent and concerted global effort to invest in their people, a lot of countries are in danger of being excluded from future prosperity.

At this year’s World Bank Group/IMF Annual Meetings in Bali, Indonesia, President Jim Yong Kim unveiled the Human Capital Project together with the Human Capital Index which will help measure outcomes including child survival, early hardwiring of children for success, student learning and health.

However, even as investing in people should remain a top priority, climate change would continue to affect the lives of millions of people around the world, especially in Africa.

At the beginning of December, the urgency to limit global warming to below 2°C was heard the world over.

Global leaders gathered in Katowice, Poland for COP24 to finalize the framework of rules that will guide the implementation of the Paris Agreement. There, the World Bank Group announced new targets for 2025 including a major boost in financing for adaptation and delivering low carbon pathways to development.

With a shift in focus to adaptation and resilience, the Bank Group’s announcement of a doubling of its current 5-year investments to around $200 billion in support for countries to take climate action was met with encouragement from a number of influential voices on social media such as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, UN Secretary-General Antoni Guterres among others.

On technology, the World Bank noted in a recent article that “all around us, we can see the evidence of technology disrupting how we live our everyday life. In global development, innovators are increasingly deploying technology in an effort to solve some of the world’s pressing challenges”.

“One of these challenges is famine. Today, 124 million people experience crisis-levels of food insecurity and over half of them are in situations affected by conflict. That’s why in September this year, The United Nations, World Bank, International Committee of the Red Cross, Microsoft Corp., Google and Amazon Web Services launched the Famine Action Mechanism (FAM), the first mechanism dedicated to preventing future famines”.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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