The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, conflict and climate crises are crippling the lives of African children, limiting their access to education and the skills needed for the job market, Save the Children warned as African leaders meet to discuss Africa’s economic growth.
Angela Kauleni, Save the Children in Tanzania Country Director, said the need for greater investment in education would be forefront of the Head of States Human Capital Development Summit in Tanzania on July 25/26 held under the theme “Accelerating Africa’s Economic Growth: Boosting Youth Productivity by Improving Learning and Skills”:
“Save the Children is calling on African governments, regional institutions, and international partners to prioritize and invest in quality, relevant, inclusive, and accessible education to shore up skills in the continent, calling for immediate allocation of adequate financial resources, and establishment of robust policy frameworks that prioritize education, health, and youth empowerment.
“In Sub-Saharan Africa 89% of 10-year-olds are still unable to understand a simple written text. This means not only are they unable to proceed with meaningful higher education, but they are unlikely to acquire the technical and higher-order skills needed to thrive in increasingly demanding labour markets and more complex societies. They also collectively risk billions of dollars in potential lifetime earnings, spelling doom for a continent with an estimated 77% of its population below the age of 35.
“In Tanzania for instance, while 10.9 million children were enrolled in primary school between 2016-2020, the quality of education and access to basic services is below par. Additionally, one third of our girls in Tanzania are married before their 18th birthday and 5% are married before the age of 15, denying them the opportunity to realize their full potential.
“Save the Children’s work with young people is focused on ensuring they acquire the skills to help them identify and capitalize on work opportunities for the future. One way of doing this is to create spaces for young people to meet with the policymakers, and one of those spaces is their participation in this Head of States summit.”
Mary Ododa, 32, youth delegate from Kenya, said:
“As a proud African youth, I urge our esteemed heads of state at the African Summit to prioritize the holistic development of education, health, and skills. Let’s unleash the potential of every young mind, guarantee quality education, accessible healthcare, and empower our youth with skills for a prosperous future. Together, let’s build a thriving Africa for generations to come!”
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Save the Children.