The world should help Africa invest in its people as the continent confronts a demographic boom, said billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, whose foundation released its annual report on Tuesday.
Gates put forward a “simple idea” that investing in the health and education of Africa’s younger generation would help tackle poverty.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation released its annual “Goalkeepers” report measuring progress towards achieving UN poverty-reducing goals in 2030, based on an assessment of 18 indicators.
While poverty is receding globally, the demographic boom could stall that progress and it could even rise, the report warns.
“If those investments are made in the right way,” said the report, young Africans would contribute to the economy and the population growth would likely diminish, as has been the case in other countries.
A projection of poverty rates in the report showed that by 2050, more than 40 per cent of extremely poor people in the world will live in just two countries: The Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria.
“The particular challenge of the population growth in Africa leads to a simple idea that the world should help Africa invest in its human capital, and that means both the health and the education of this young generation coming up in Africa,” Gates told journalists.
In its annual assessment, the foundation cited progress from Brazil on nutrition, Indonesia for family planning and Vietnam for the quality of education.
Bill and Melinda Gates will co-host an event in New York next week, on the sidelines of the gathering of world leaders at the United Nations, to highlight their campaign for investing in youth.