Africa is expected to have about 1.3 billion young people by 2030 and faces the challenge of creating at least one million jobs every month to meet the growing needs of the labor market.
According to World Bank statistics, the African continent is operating at only 40 percent of its human potential, despite recent progress on health and education indicators.
Sub-Saharan Africa, in particular, where most economies have experienced sustained growth over the past two decades - largely driven by the raw-material boom - "lags in most human capital indicators."
These findings were presented by the World Bank during a debate on human capital in Africa, as a part of the fifth Investing in Africa Forum (FIA5) which is being held since Monday in the Congolese capital, Brazzaville.
According to the speakers in the panel on the 'Future of Work in an Integrated and Digitized Africa', the continent must also overcome a "skills gap [that] hinders countries' competitiveness in the global economy."
In Wednesday's session, discussions focused on the areas that require the most investment, "not only to bridge the gap in basic services, but also to help people become innovators, entrepreneurs, leaders and empowered citizens, no matter their income level."
The FIA5 is jointly held by Congo, China and the World Bank with the aim of fostering economic diversification and job creation in African countries.
Event organizers believe that diversifying African economies and creating jobs is "crucial" to the future of the African continent, whose population is described as the youngest and fastest growing in the world.
The Forum has been held once a year since 2015 as an international platform to promote multilateral cooperation and investment opportunities in Africa.
The first edition was held in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, in June 2015; the second edition took place in Guangzhou (China) in September 2016; Dakar (Senegal) hosted the third edition in September 2017; and the fourth edition was held in September 2018 in Changsha (China).