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Africa should be provided opportunities rather than aid, György Hölvényi, an MEP of Hungary’s co-ruling Christian Democrats, said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that the EU should back local initiatives that allow people to make a living in their homeland. Hölvényi told a European parliamentary conference he organised on job creation in Africa that each year around 12 million young people enter the continent’s job market which has only 3 million job opportunities. In order to have a chance of staying in their homeland, they must receive education that is competitive on the 21st century job market, he added.
He said the aim of Tuesday’s event was for European decision-makers to hear from African speakers that migration was not a solution to the challenges faced by developing countries. Because Africa’s most valuable resource is its young population, they need to be provided education and training in order to allow the continent’s economies to pursue a 21st-century development path, Hölvényi said.
Supporting emigration deprives Africans of a chance for development, the MEP argued. “Africa’s annual growth rate of over 5% requires both a large and a skilled workforce,” he said. Hölvényi called for aligning education, vocational training and investments with job creation schemes so that Africa’s youth can be an opportunity rather than a burden.
Hölvényi noted that the EU was allocating 13% of its development funds meant for Africa towards education until 2027, adding that a “far more results-oriented plan” was needed. Also, the EU should boost cooperation with local organisations, he added. Tapera Muzira of the African Development Bank said the continent’s agriculture sector was in great need of skilled labour. This, he said, was especially important when it came to managing the food crisis and fighting climate change.