African presidents urge investment in youth as continent sees rare demographic opportunity

Presidents, ministers, and United Nations and World Bank officials met at UN Headquarters in New York to strengthen their commitments for the young people of Africa.

The continent is undergoing a seismic shift in its population structure, with more young people than ever before preparing to enter adulthood and the workforce.

“More than 30 per cent of Africa’s population is between the age of 10 and 24, and will remain so for at least the next 20 years,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement prepared for the event. “With the right investments, these trends could be the region’s greatest asset.”

When the numbers of working-age people surpass the numbers of dependents, countries can experience an economic boom, a phenomenon known as a “demographic dividend.” But first, young people must be enabled to…

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