With a renovated airport, destruction of informal shops and neighborhoods that escorted main streets and half city under Tamping Rammer, Abidjan, economic capital of Ivory Coast — which hosts this 29th and 30th November 5th European Union-Union summit African — navigates cruising speed to regain its glory of yore, when it was considered great jewel of West Africa. But city's awakening contrasts with rise of people living on less than one euro a day nationwide: one million more people than ten years ago — when Côte d'ivoire was in conflict — according to World Bank data. The country is reflection of what happens, on a large scale, on African continent.
The face of Abidjan, sculpted by lagoon, has changed radically since 2011, when war ended and new government of Alassane Ouattara proposed to re-launch economy looking abroad. Indeed, large investors have returned to Côte d'ivoire and West African nation enjoys a brand-new 9% average economic growth since year 2012. He is reissuing his fame as "economic miracle" and some already call him " African Tiger." The large foreign capitals have allowed to build fundamental infrastructures to decongest economic lung of country, to make of elegance sultry and hyperactive city, and to generate benefits, but y have stepped in ir takeoff to Indispensable informal sector, and have left out of game a part of population that previously survived on ir own and now has become jobless.
While middle class is enriched and enjoys flavor of boom in restaurants and hotels like Hotel Ivoire, where 83 heads of State and Government of African Union and European Union discuss this week great challenges common between two regions , thousands of Ivorian embark on perilous journey to Europe. "Money does not circulate as before," it is said in streets of Abidjan. Opportunities, are sought out.
Paradoxically, Ivorian economic miracle is expelling hundreds of young people: it is fourth nationality of arrival by sea to European Union, according to United Nations. Of almost 170,000 immigrants who have arrived in Europe by Mediterranean East 2017, 7.9% are Ivorian, according to data of international organization.
With a double speed awakening and an increasingly large and unemployed young and active population, Ivorian case is reflection of what happens on a large scale on African continent. With 60% of population under age of 25, Africa is youngest region in world, in contrast to an ever-older Europe.
"We must be able to look for future in our country," said president of Pan-African Youth Union, Congolese Francine Furaha Muyumba, in inaugural session of Abidjan Summit, pointing out that "we need to support Entrepreneurs ".
That increasingly large youth is great potential but also great risk for Africa and Europe. 31% of unemployment at continental level pushes thousands to start perilous journey northward, and problem could soon be much greater. "70% of current jobs are at risk of disappearing in developing countries by mutations in labour market, especially because of automation of industrial sector," warns World Bank
Under title "Investing in Youth for sustainable development", Abidjan summit has placed just young at centre of agenda. The challenges of immigration and security, two pillars of discussions, will have no solution if 200 million of Africans who are now between 15 and 24 years are not counted.