Gov­ern­ments must to help young peo­ple build a fu­ture by investing in their health and ed­u­ca­tion.”

The East African - - OUT­LOOK -

Bill Gates, phi­lan­thropist services more avail­able — will sig­nif­i­cantly im­prove the well­be­ing of women and coun­tries.

The av­er­age age at first birth for women in Africa is sig­nif­i­cantly lower than in any other re­gion. Cur­rently, it is 20 or younger in half of the coun­tries on the con­ti­nent.

“This scenario does not have any­thing to do with women hav­ing fewer children. It just has to do with when they start hav­ing them,” says the Goal­keep­ers re­port.

The study looked at the chal­lenges pre­sented by the de­mo­graph­ics of ex­treme poverty. It ex­plored what it will take in the ar­eas of health, ed­u­ca­tion, and eco­nomic op­por­tu­nity to po­si­tion Africa's boom­ing youth pop­u­la­tion to trans­form the con­ti­nent.

It ex­am­ined the suc­cess of Zim­babwe's pro­gramme on HIV/AIDS and con­sid­ered how to build on it.

It found that one of the keys to keep­ing devel­op­ment go­ing is to slow down the rapid rate of pop­u­la­tion growth.

But pop­u­la­tion is­sues are so dif­fi­cult to talk about that the devel­op­ment com­mu­nity has ig­nored them for years.

“For most African coun­tries, the out­look is pos­i­tive. For ex­am­ple, Ethiopia, once the global poster-child for famine, is pro­jected to al­most eliminate ex­treme poverty by 2050. The chal­lenge is that within Africa, poverty is con­cen­trat­ing in a hand­ful of very fast-grow­ing coun­tries,” says the re­port.

“To con­tinue im­prov­ing the hu­man con­di­tion, our task now is to help cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties in Africa's fastest grow­ing, poor­est coun­tries. This means investing in young peo­ple. Specif­i­cally, investing in their health and ed­u­ca­tion, or what econ­o­mists call ‘hu­man cap­i­tal',” it adds.

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