United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, speaking at a session on Africa and the G7 during the weekend summit in Italy, emphasized six strategies for advancing growth across the continent while reducing the risks that unemployment and economic frustration create for peace and security.
Guterres noted the challenges facing fragile states and the impact that commodity prices and global markets have had in Africa’s economic slowdown, but remained optimistic about the near future.
“Even in these challenging times, Africa continues to be a continent of resilience and opportunity,” Guterres said, citing overall improved performance in governance. “We know that the full and true story of Africa is that of a continent with enormous potential for success.”
Investment in youth and technology will further drive that success, he said. Science and technology not only equip African youth with the skills they need in the economic future, but leverage the opportunity for Africans to “leapfrog” into the benefits of renewable energy, fintech options and other innovations.
Guterres also called for investment into sectors of the economy that reflect African success stories and continue to advance them. “Innovation-driven investments can galvanize industrialization and diversify economies,” he said.
“At the same time, we must support innovation to boost productivity in agriculture – to help it become more modern, competitive and sustainable – as well as assist manufacturing or traditional activities to move higher up the global value chain,” he added. “This is key to the creation of more decent jobs.”
Guterres also called for the empowerment of women and girls to boost the economy, and reforms in development finance that will protect the donor base as well as private investment across Africa.
Image: Italian G7 Presidency