By Enyichukwu Enemanna
The African Development Bank (AfDB), has urged leaders in the continent to commit more resources to education and human capital development to tackle the increasing unemployment across Africa, especially in Nigeria.
The bank says if not checked, the burgeoning rate of unemployment in Africa could worsen the social and political fragility of countries.
“As a nation, the demands of a dynamic, fast-changing and integrated labour market globally require that we must significantly invest in building first grade and competitive human capital”, President of the bank, Akinwunmi Adesina said on Thursday while delivering a lecture virtually as part of events marking the 100 years anniversary of Baptist Boys High School (BBHS), Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Speaking at the colloquium which had as the theme, “The Role of Education in 21st Century Nigeria Development: BBHS Adventure”, Adesina said for the United Nations (UN) goal for inclusive and quality education for all to be achieved, the global spending on education must rise from $1.2 trillion to $3 trillion per year by 2030.
“We must also improve educational system to be more resilient and able to adapt to the rapidly changing environment.
“We must transform African’s educational systems to prepare students for this new digital world.
“The investment that any nation makes in education reflects hopes and aspirations for accelerated development.
“We cannot underfund education. A nation can only go as far as its quality of its human capital, so if you underfund quality education, get ready for underdevelopment.
“The greatest discouragement to education is lack of jobs. The unemployment rate in Africa is extremely high and it reduce the return on education. Furthermore, it leads to frustration among the youths and spurs social discontent which could worsen social and political fragility of countries,” he stated.
He hinted that AfDB has equipped no fewer than 50 million young Africans with skills, particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
According to him, the AfDB has invested more than $171 million in education in Nigeria, adding that, the various interventions have produced more than 464 Masters degree holders and 83 PhD holders.
He said, the AfDB would soon establish a Youth Enterprise Investment Bank in Africa to address high unemployment rate in the continent.
In his address, the National President of Old Boys Association of BBHS, Prof. Kayode Oyesiku said there was need for Nigeria to de-emphasis certification and focus more on technical and vocational education.