Reasons Why Unemployment is Still High in Africa

Unemployment (15)

Over the years, African leaders have been coming up with solutions to youth unemployment. An example of these initiatives is one by Senegal’s President, Macky Sall. He created a program in February 2013 to create about 300,000 jobs for the youth in his country by 2017. This and other initiatives in most countries in Africa only created jobs for a few of the youth, with more and more educated young people enter the job market every year. We all need to embark on better initiatives; otherwise, the problem of unemployment will only get worse.
Africa has the largest youth population compared to other continents. About 40% comprises of the youth. Also, 60% of unemployed people in Africa are youth. The employed are in jobs that are too demanding but pay meager salaries. The low productivity of these jobs only leads to more frustrations.

Gender equality is still a factor in this problem. It’s always hard for women to get jobs despite being equally qualified to their male counterparts. The notion that some professions are only meant for men still lingers in some sectors like a dark cloud.
There are three reasons why youth unemployment is still getting worse;

  • Population Growth
  • The Education system(Labour market)
  • Corruption
  1. Population Growth

Most of Africa’s countries are developing countries. The penetration and acceptance of some technologies like family planning take longer due to cultural beliefs, poverty, among other issues. As a result of this, the population profile of some countries like Kenya is a pyramid. The highest population comprises of the youths. The government is running short of resources for the youth in the wake of an ever-increasing population.

  1. Education System

With the increasing population, you may expect that we will have more labor workforce, which would translate to economic growth. On the contrary, few of the learned get jobs in the labor market. More youths have access to some form of education now, compared to a few decades ago. However, there is still a skill gap. The skills that these youth acquire in class aren’t what most employers need. As much as it would be ideal for training the youths on the job, it would lead to a waste of a lot of time and resources, a loss most employers don’t want to incur.

  1. Corruption

In countries like South Africa, corruption is one of the causes of unemployment. It’s hard to get jobs in the Government since you need to be well connected to do so. In other countries, Governments and Parastatals advertise vacant positions as a formality since they have their candidate for the job.

  1. Other Issues

When employment seizes to be an option, most youths may resort to starting their businesses and using their talents to earn a living. Unfortunately, this sector hasn’t been developed yet. It’s hard to get a loan without collateral. When you manage to get one, it’s of a meager amount and at a crazy interest. The art and talent industry isn’t quite developed either, and few people want to invest in this industry.
What Can We Do About it

  1. Creating longterm policies towards unemployment

The best way to solve the unemployment problem is by having the right policies. A lot of money is spent on free education, maternity, and other programs for women and youth. Policymakers should come up with solutions that are long term.  If youths are unemployed due to the lack of skills, they need to revise the education system, to come up with one that teaches the necessary skills. Kenya recently launched a new education system that is focused on not only academic excellence but also teaching life skills and expounding a child’s talents. Corruption still stands in the way to some extent, but this is a system that other African countries can copy.

  1. Changing the Mind-set towards unemployment

To solve the problems of the adults of tomorrow, we need to take care of today’s children. African youths have grown up knowing that we study to get jobs. Policymakers should create a curriculum where they teach youths to be job creators. There are many activities youth can embark on to earn while still in school and after school. Since many of them are graduating every year, the Government and the private sector can’t absorb them. They need to teach them to create their jobs and create a conducive environment to do that. This is by reducing interest rates for the grants, partnering with other countries and institutions to teach the necessary skills, and offering tenders to these companies instead of importing labor.
The reason why most initiatives towards unemployment are because they are not long-term; most initiatives aren’t taking into account the growing youth population. The education system isn’t helping either since the graduates aren’t ready for employment. Corruption is standing in the way of some projects that could help this situation. It’s up to the policymakers to come up with long-term solutions by revising the education curriculum and creating a conducive environment for employment and job creation. Youths should also change their mindset from being job seekers to being job creators.


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