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Invest in Africa

As the Group of Twenty finance ministers and central bank governors meet in Germany this week, policymakers are looking to increase investment in Africa.

Jamie Drummond is co-founder of ONE Campaign, and in this podcast he says it’s no surprise Africa is on the agenda.

“The German finance ministry realizes that if we do not invest heavily now in the education, employment and empowerment of this generation of Africans, the international community—above all—European neighbors to Africa, will profoundly regret it.”

Drummond says there have been several moments in recent history when the world has come together in response to what’s both the opportunity and jeopardy of the situation of the continent, but it’s unclear which one of those situations is going to win.

“Is it that there’s a massive opportunity to invest in this generation of youth, in order to harness a demographic dividend? That is usually an opportunity for an economy to grow rapidly, but only if that youth boom has had adequate nutrition, healthcare, access to education, and in turn access to employment and opportunity.”

Absent those things, Drummond says African youth will be profoundly frustrated and angry, and we could see a very grim couple of decades on the continent.

“Instead of seeing a demographic dividend, we’ll have a period of demographic destabilization and mass displacement. And that is something I think is of grave interest, particularly to policymakers in Europe right now.”

Drummond also tells us about his recent trip to north-east Nigeria, where he saw first-hand the consequence of a generation of neglect and bad governance, and where extremist ideologies have taken root.

“I wrote recently about a woman we met called Amina, a twenty-year-old mother of six who lost her husband to Boko Haram. There are tens of millions of Aminas across that part of the continent that deserve our respect and dignified investments that help them change their fate. And it will also change the rest of ours too.”