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From Natural Capital to Human Capital: Unlocking Africa’s Greatest Assets

Shape Africa 2016 aims to bring this discussion to the table, focusing on the interaction between Africa’s two key assets: its immense natural capital, and its human capital, in particular the much talked about “youth bulge”.

Imagine sustainable and fairtrade haute couture MADE IN AFRICA. Or the latest pharmaceutical patents sourced not only from African biodiversity but from African talent. Or still, some of the world’s next best environmental engineers, conservationists, architects, social innovators, creators, consultants, and fintech disruptors becoming the African trademark. Or again, the world’s next Silicon Valley being on the African continent, with the added value being that it pioneers sustainability. The main question is not whether all of this is possible, but rather how to get there.

Last year was a cornerstone for the global development agenda with the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the new Agenda 2030 and with the signature of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Where does Africa position itself in this new trajectory? Instead of being the stereotypical recipient of aid, can we be active players and drivers of sustainable development?