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Deepening the EU-African Partnership

Although Africa still suffers some of the highest poverty rates in the world, the continent overall has massive potential to achieve broad-based, sustainable growth this century. International financial institutions must listen to forward-looking African leaders and adapt their investment strategies accordingly.

BRUSSELS – Home to more than one billion people, Africa boasts the youngest, fastest-growing middle class in the world. With a median age 14 years younger than that of any other continent, Africa is on the cusp of profound political, economic, and social transformation. Around 20 million jobseekers enter the labor market every year in Sub-Saharan Africa. If these young people can be incorporated into the economy, they could contribute decisively to the region’s development and growth.

To help Africa realize this demographic dividend, financial institutions and development banks must invest in the coming transformation. That means both promoting the private sector – the engine of job creation – and changing how we ourselves operate.

Across all areas of economic development, investing in Africa’s future represents a win-win, because many of the continent’s biggest challenges are in fact global problems that will affect us all. COVID-19 has made this abundantly clear, offering a warning of what awaits us in an age of climate change. For Europe to avoid the worst effects of global warming, it must engage with countries everywhere to help them achieve sustainability and climate resilience.

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