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ONE: 2017 must become the year for an historic new partnership with Africa’s booming youthful population

Ahead of the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Bonn, the ONE Campaign calls for a doubling of investments for Africa, focused on education, employment and empowerment – in order to fully harness the doubling of Africa’s population by 2050.

Johannesburg, South Africa – February 15th. Ahead of the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting, the Munich Security Conference and the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, ONE calls on the G20 to partner with Africa as both a continent full of opportunity and a continent that is crucial for international stability.

  • Africa’s population will more than double by 2050. To ensure that the surge in the number of young people across the continent turns into a “demographic dividend”, the ONE campaign calls for a doubling of investments to Africa by 2020. In particular investments in education – including targeted ones for girls, employment and empowerment are essential to unlock the potential of such a youth surge. Providing education reduces a country’s risk of conflict by 20 percent. Benefits are even greater if education goes hand in hand with opportunities for employment and citizen participation. These investments need to include the poorest and most fragile countries.
  • The G20 foreign affairs ministerial needs to make headway on such a new partnership with Africa around education, employment and education, that should cover the most fragile regions of the continent. The emergency situation in the Lake Chad Region where millions of people are on the run and dependent on food aid right now shows how urgent an international response is. While the Oslo Humanitarian Conference needs to raise enough money to meet the humanitarian needs, donors also need to agree on a robust strategy for long-term development and stability. Therefore, G20 leaders must adopt a “Compact with the Lake Chad Region”.

“Germany has put Africa on top of its G20 agenda. When the G20 Foreign Ministers gather in Bonn tomorrow, they need to discuss how this group of the most important economies can support African states in shaping a positive future for the rapidly growing population on the continent. This not charity but justice – and one of the best investments we can make today for our own future. Africa will face a doubling of its population by 2050. The G20’s partnership should help the continent harness this demographic dividend. Whether the G20 and African states get this right will determine whether a restless, young generation will find frustration – or work and perspectives. Africa will then be able to help drive global growth and prosperity.”

“In order to prepare for the doubling of the population by 2050, we need to frontload investments for African youth now, in particular those going into education, employment and empowerment. ONE calls for a doubling of public and private investments by 2020. The German initiative of G20 compacts with African states is very welcome. In order to harness the demographic dividend, these compacts will have to include countries most in need, i.e. the poorest and most fragile ones, and also scale aid, not just foreign direct investments as currently planned. Foreign Affairs ministers need to agree to a compact approach that includes fragile countries and centres around investments into education, employment and empowerment.”

Notes to the editors

For interviews on the G20 and the Foreign Affairs ministerial, please contact: Nicole Johnston +27(0)636981091

  • To harness the demographic dividend, the G20 should double Official Development Finance (ODF) to Africa by 2020. ODF includes ODA (mainly grants), but also the full amount of concessional loans as well as non-concessional funding to developing countries (from bilateral and multilateral sources). This means increasing ODF from approximately $60 billion in 2015 to $120 billion in 2020. At least half of the increases should come from ODA (i.e. an increase of $30 billion in 2020 compared to 2015). ONE also calls for a doubling of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Africa from $52 billion to 104 billion by 2020. ONE also makes recommendation on the fight against illicit financial flows and the increase of African domestic revenue mobilization, which should also allow to double investments by 2020. These investments should be focused on education, employment and empowerment, with a specific focus on the needs of girls and women.
  • In addition to the G20 Foreign Affairs ministerial, two more important gatherings in the next ten days will allow to make progress on a new African partnership: the Munich Security Conference, which will gather leaders from different G20 countries, and the Oslo Conference on the Lake Chad Region, a region that should be at the center of the G20’s compacts.
  • ONE co-founder Bono will speak at Munich Security Conference: Long-term stability and prosperity is not possible without investing into development. Today, development needs to become a strategic priority of international leaders, an essential part of any foreign policy and not just something “nice to have”. A delegation from ONE including co-founder Bono will be at the Munich Security Conference to make the case for development. Bono will give a speech on the need for increased investments into education, employment and empowerment for Africa, especially in the poorest and most fragile countries of the continent.

If you cover the Munich Security Conference, and you are interested in conducting an interview or background conversation with a ONE representative or if you need a statement, please get in touch with Nicole Johnston +27(0)636981091. ONE will be present from February 17-19.

  • Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad region: The Oslo Humanitarian Conference, which is being held a week after the G20 Foreign Affairs ministers, is an important step on the road to the G20 Summit in July. At Oslo, the international community must pledge to meet humanitarian needs in the Lake Chad region, which have been costed at USD 1.5bn for 2017.  To take north-east Nigeria as an example, in 2016, only 52% of the humanitarian response was funded – despite the fact that this is the country in the world with the highest number of children out of school, and that according to reports parts of Borno state may have slipped into famine last year. In 2017, the international community needs to take action: it needs to fund the humanitarian response and support long-term development needs, as part of a “G20 Lake Chad compact” focused on education, employment and empowerment.

On February 24th ONE will be on the ground at the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on the Lake Chad region. For background information or if you are interested in an interview with ONE’s co-founder Jamie Drummond or ONE’s Policy Manager, Refugee, Humanitarian and Security Issues, please get in touch with Nicole Johnston +27(0)636981091