President Mahama, who was giving the keynote address at “The Times” of London CEO Summit Africa which was held at the Savoy Hotel in London said the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) projection of 10 countries with high annual growth rate on the continent, including Ghana, could become a mirage if the disturbing cycle of unemployment is not highlighted and addressed.
He stressed that the extent of joblessness could be better appreciated if one considers that Africa’s rapidly expanding labour force could hit 1.1 billion by the end of 2014, making “the continent’s collective labour force bigger than that of China and India”.
In calling for the effective management of the continent’s collective labour force, therefore, President Mahama pointed out that it ought to be understood as part of a bigger problem that provides opportunities for the provision of infrastructure to support the projected 50 percent of the population who will migrate to Africa’s urban centres within the next 15 years.
He cautioned that instead of urbanization merely resulting in the indiscriminate mushrooming of slums in African cities, Africa should seize the opportunity to provide equitably, infrastructure such as modern roads, social housing, commercial malls, safe drinking water, and reliable power generation and transmission systems for its rapidly growing population.
He observed that “If I am constantly calling for investment in Africa’s human resource, it is because I recognize that human capital, properly trained and harnessed, remains the key to Africa’s socio-economic and political development”.
He pointed out that Ghana has learnt lessons, both from its own past and the history of other nations. He stressed that these lessons have informed Ghana’s strategic decision to empower local participants as critical players in the country’s newly emerging oil and gas industry.
In order that its effect could be concretized, President Mahama said a draft legislation instrument on local content was being examined to ensure a perfect integration of the extraction of the natural resource with the local economy through gas processing, fertilizer production and refinement of petroleum products among others.
In view of this overarching objective, President Mahama continued,
“Africa is seeking partnerships for the mutual benefit of both investors and its people. A partnership that would transfer technology to the continent, a partnership that will create jobs, a partnership that will ensure growth and a decent life for its people”.