The coronavirus pandemic is dealing a heavy blow to economies across the world with unemployment, especially among youths, soaring in most countries. African youths are the worse affected, considering the situation of the continent even before the outbreak of the global health crisis.
For example, whereas about 12 million young Africans enter the labour market every year, only 3 million jobs are created in the formal sector. The informal sector provides 85.8% of the total African employment, which absorbs 95% of the youth. And it is precisely the informal sector that has been worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unemployment among youths has been identified as a major potential cause of social and political instability in Africa and the chief driver of irregular migration to Europe from the continent.
Hence, Lead Africa International e.V., a global non-governmental organization dealing with development issues, will focus “on establishing and reinvigorating multilateral cooperation with Africa for growth and development” at its 2020 Global Partnership for African Development (G-PAD) forum.
The 2-day event, holding on 27-28 November under the theme Strengthening Ties and Building Bridges for Recovery and Growth, will deliberate on strategies for mutually beneficial cooperation between Africa and its global partners.
“Particularly, this year’s G-PAD will build on the progress made at the 2019 G-PAD conference to foster synergy between Germany’s and the European Union (EU)’s partnership with Africa around investments aimed at job creation on the continent,” Lead Africa International said.
The annual conference, which holds virtually this year and featuring keynote speeches and debates, would like to draw the attention of Germany and the European Union to their self-professed goal of increased engagement with Africa.
Germany launched its Africa Policy in 2019 while a new Africa-Europe proposal was announced in March 2020 by the European Commission. However, efforts to tackle the domestic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany and Europe may divert their governments’ attention from their commitments to Africa.
Therefore, G-PAD 2020 by bringing together stakeholders, including entrepreneurs, policy makers, development experts and civil society leaders from Africa, Germany and the EU, aims to draw attention to the need for increased engagement with Africa. Another group of participants expected to play an active part in the deliberations at the conference are representatives of the African diaspora, young professionals, academics and students.
Finding solutions to the challenges confronting Africa is of mutual benefit to both continents, Lead Africa International believes. A major aim of the conference is therefore “to develop a comprehensive approach to policy and multilateral collaboration”, the organisation says.
Among the key speakers at the G-PAD 2020 are Mr Philipp Keil, Executive Director, SEZ – Foundation for Development Cooperation, Baden-Württemberg; Khaled Sheriff, Vice President, Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery, Africa Development Bank; Mrs Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba, Botswana’s Second Ambassador to Germany; Timi Olanrewaju, Executive Director, Lead Africa International e.V.; and Ambassador Albert Mudenda Muchanga, African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry.
The conference will also feature thematic discussions at which Dr. Knox Chitiyo, Associate Fellow, Africa Programme, Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, London UK; Prof. John Struthers, Director Centre for African Research on Enterprise and Economic Development (CAREED) School of Business and Enterprise University of West of Scotland; and Faith Miyandazi, Head of Communications, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), among others are expected to participate.
Register for G-PAD 2020, taking place by Zoom on 27-28 November, by clicking HERE
G-PAD 2020 will be preceded by the Lead Academy 2020, holding on 24-26 November. The three-day virtual event seeks to chart a new course of thinking among youths on the maintenance of post-Covid economic relevance and career development as well as provide a counter-narrative to the conventional body of knowledge about Black people in Europe.