“Millions of jobs have been threatened as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with some job functions now extinct – almost overnight,” Martha Phiri, Director of Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development Department at the African Development Bank has said.
Ms Phiri said this at a virtual stakeholder forum held by the African Development Bank (AfDB), in partnership with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to outline the regional bloc’s human capital strategy as a result of job losses due to COVID-19.
She said one of the Bank’s High Five strategic priorities – Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa – recognises the need to train Africa’s youth for the jobs of today and the future.
“In order to anticipate and prepare the resilience of our states to cope with all situations, it has proven important to take stock of the situation on human capital, define a strategy and an action plan for the region,” Finda Koroma, ECOWAS Commission Vice President stated.
The ECOWAS strategy, being developed with support from consulting firm Ernst & Young Nigeria, focuses on education, skills development, and labour challenges and opportunities in the subregion. Feedback will be incorporated into the final report, which will present strategies and solutions for investing in human capital to accelerate development and economic prosperity.
According to a recent AfDB report on the fourth industrial revolution in Africa, automation will replace about 47% of current jobs by the year 2030.
It said: “Disruption, digitalisation and globalisation are causing rapid changes to the education, skills and labour landscape. These changes highlight the growing gap between the current skill level of prospective workers in the region and employer