‘Create productive jobs for youth’
A New World Bank report on youth employment in Africa says about 11 million young Africans are expected to join the labour market every year for the next decade.
While many African economies have registered impressive economic growth in recent years, poverty levels across the region have not declined as expected, and young people looking for better-paying work have been at a great disadvantage.
This is partly because many African countries rely heavily on oil, gas, and mineral extraction which boosts economic growth but does little to create new jobs for the region’s fast-growing youth population or reduce overall rates of poverty.
The report titled: ‘Youth Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa’ noted that close to 80 percent of the workforce will continue to work on small farms and in household businesses in the near future.
“While the modern wage sector is growing very fast in some countries, it cannot create enough jobs to meet the youth employment challenge now preoccupying governments in every corner of the continent.
“Attracting investment into large enterprises that create wage jobs in the mainstream formal economy is critical, but it is only part of the solution to Africa’s youth employment challenge,” said Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for Africa.
He said for the millions of young people who are just surviving in the hidden informal sector, they will need greater access to land, skills training and credit to thrive.
“This will be a game-changer for small farmers and entrepreneurs, who will prosper as African economies grow in close cooperation with the private sector.
He said new development partners such as China, India and Brazil are actively working with the World Bank to help develop these science and technology skills for Africa’s youth.
The report noted that manufacturing, services and agriculture were traditionally labour-intensive sectors that could generate productive work for the young people.
“As working populations age in other parts of the world, young Africans could find their labour and skills increasingly in high demand internationally if their governments pursue policies that improve education and job training for their youth.”