by Justice Lee Adoboe
ABUJA, May 6 (Xinhua) -- Cooperation with China is critical for Africa, in order to accelerate its economic growth, Elsie Kanza, director and head of Africa at the World Economic Forum (WEF) said here on Monday.
According to her, the continent needs all the partners that it can get, to mobilize all the investments it needs for its economic growth and transformation .
Themed "Forging Inclusive Growth, Creating Jobs," the 2014 World Economic Forum on Africa will open in Abuja on May 7. The three-day meeting will bring around 900 delegates globally, including political leaders, business elites as well as scholars.
In an interview with Xinhua on Monday, Kanza pointed out that volumes of investments needed for development on the continent was much bigger than the continent could mobilize single-handedly.
Kanza therefore called on China, as partner of economic transformation for Africa, to invest more into trade and economic transformation in Africa.
A session of the forum, according to her, would be dedicated to "Partners in Prosperity," which aims to explore where the new partnerships are coming from.
All these partnerships and investments, she stressed, must be geared towards structural transformation in the economy, if inclusive growth and job creation are to be achieved.
Through the different efforts made on the continent, Africa has managed to grow. From a period when it was growing very little to a period now when it is the second fastest growing continent in the world, observed the director.
The challenge for African economies, however she noted, is that growth did not translate into jobs, and therefore did not have any significant impact on reducing poverty. And the continent has also seen an increase in inequality.
"So what we are challenging our leaders who will be present is first, what needs to change so that we can see the growth. The growth that creates jobs, growth that reduces poverty, and growth that minimizes inequality," she added.
Education, in her estimation, was the first critical necessity in the search for inclusive growth and job creation. Young people need to get the skills that will enable them either to employ themselves, or be employed.
"Secondly, to have the jobs available, it requires the improvement of the environment for doing business, ensuring that people think it is worthwhile to do business and be profitable. In that way it will create the job," said Kanza.
Moreover, she said the situation also requires peace and stability. "An environment within which you know that you will be protected and your assets and investments will also be protected is for all of this to work," she added.