Skills Development for Economic Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Pragmatic Perspective

Yaw Ansu and Jee-Peng Tan

in Good Growth and Governance in Africa

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199698561
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738142 | DOI:

Series: Initiative for Policy Dialogue

Skills Development for Economic Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Pragmatic Perspective

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A skilled workforce is essential for Sub-Saharan Africa's economic transformation. However, because investing in skills is costly and often exceeds the capacity of governments to finance to the extent and quality required, a vicious cycle persists in which high costs constrain investments in skills which in turn impedes economic growth and limits the resources available for investing in skills. Breaking out of this chicken-and-egg problem calls for a two-pronged approach that benefits from visionary and pragmatic leadership. The first prong integrates skills development into economic development plans and relies on purposeful and flexible arrangements to meet employers’ immediate demand for skills, particularly in the prospective growth sectors. The second prong involves the longer-run task of system-wide improvement, to equip everyone with strong literacy and numeracy skills, to increase the education system's orientation toward science and technology, and to foster strong linkages with the world of work, particularly in tertiary education.

Keywords: skills; education; training; demand for skills; skills-intensive strategy; jobs; leadership; policy trade-offs

Chapter.  14179 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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