Capacity Building and Skills Development as Prime Mechanisms for Africa's Socio-economic Transformation: Lessons from ACBF's Interventions

This paper draws on the extant literature and experiences of selected ACBF-supported interventions to examine the importance of capacity building and skills development for Africa’s socio-economic transformation. There is now ample agreement that individual skills (human), organizational and institutional capital are key variables for economic growth, poverty reduction and long-term socio-economic transformation. With globalisation and the transition to knowledge economies where knowledge is a key driver of international competitiveness, knowledge generation is taking place at a rapid pace as well as becoming obsolete quicker, making capacity development vital — especially to allow for the exploitation and utilisation of experiential knowledge, intellectual capital and indigenous knowledge assets. Investing in human, organizational and institutional capacity is thus critical for attaining economic vitality, technological progress, and political stability. In the face of a global economic downturn, demographic shifts, climate change, growing humanitarian crises and persistently high levels of poverty, capacity development remains a collective challenge and priority for the public, private sector and civil society organizations. Governments, companies, and civic leaders need to work together in new alliances that leverage scarce resources, cutting-edge technologies, and institutional innovations to develop capacity for economic growth and poverty reduction in Africa.