Kikwete warns of ticking unemployment bombBy DAMAS KANYABWOYA in Arusha | Friday, June 1 2012 at 10:44
Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete has called on the international community to help Africa solve youth unemployment before it spirals out of control.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the African Development Bank (AfDB) meetings in Arusha, north of Tanzania on Thursday, Mr Kikwete said youth unemployment was a time bomb that could destabilise even the most democratic governments in Africa.
“What we saw in North Africa, in the so-called ‘Arab Spring’, was largely due to unemployment and the feeling of hopelessness among the youth. It is the same situation in the rest of Africa,” he said.
President Kikwete added that the continent had been reduced to a net exporter of capital because of failure to tap and process the resources locally due to poor governance systems.
The revolution, which has since seen the overthrow of several regimes in the Arab world, started in Tunis, where AfDB has its headquarters.
His comments were echoed by AfDB official Gilbert Mbesherubusa, who cautioned African leaders not to wait for another "Spring Revolution" but instead improve good governance to boost economic growth.
Mr Mbesherubusa said bad governance had retarded business and discouraged potential investors from outside and within the continent.
In his speech, Mr Kikwete commended the AfDB and the government of Denmark for coordinating and funding the African Guarantee Fund (AGF), launched during the meetings to help guarantee access to finance by Africa’s young entrepreneurs.
“I urge other international financial institutions and all those who wish Africa well to financially support this fund to help end youth unemployment which threatens to tear the continent apart,” Mr Kikwete said.
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