Africa poised to provide workforce to developed world – Business Chamber CEO
19 Sep 2012
The world’s developed economies are facing aging populations and they will increasingly look to Africa for the skills they require to continuously run their economies. This was said by the Chief Executive Officer of the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Neren Rau. He was speaking on the last day of the 37th International Small Business Congress that ended in Johannesburg yesterday.
“Africa is positioned, and can potentially provide the workforce to the world. As the world’s developed economies face aging populations and by the middle of the century, they will increasingly be looking to Africa for the skills they require to continuously run their economies. But If Africa is to live up to the challenge and successfully provide the workforce to the world we need to critically look at ourselves and determine whether we are currently cultivating an appropriate and suitable workforce for the world, that will be equal to the task,” said Rau.
He added that African countries also need to look at whether their domestic labour regulations were creating an adaptable workforce or whether they were very paternalistic and making it difficult for the continent’s workforce to adapt and operate flexibly in other environments.
“We need to look at our education systems and the skills that it creates, and determine whether they are competitive enough and meet the global standards. The work ethic and productivity levels of the continent’s workforce are also some of the things that we need to look into if these developed countries were to realise value for their investment when our workforce travel to these countries for the countless opportunities that will be available in their economies. It is a fantastic opportunity that awaits us. If we are able to provide the workforce to the world, it will help us overcome many of our domestic challenges particularly employment,” emphasised Rau.
Rau also urged the private sector in Africa to partner with governments for the roll-out of infrastructure development programmes.
“According to the World Bank, Africa needs to spend $93bn per annum on infrastructure in the next decade. But the only way to achieve this level of investment and this level of infrastructure development is through partnerships between the private and private sectors. Although these partnerships often fail to get off the ground, it is imperative that we do establish them and make them succeed if we are to achieve the minimum infrastructure requirements of our continent over the next decade. We need to overcome obstacles to partnerships, and realise that these massive projects from governments fiscas only,” he added.
Sidwell Medupe, Departmental Spokesperson
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Issued by: Department of Trade and Industry
19 Sep 2012
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