Having a good job after completing school is a dream for every African youth. On a broader view of the current situation of youth employment rates, the more significant percentage is jobless. While every country is trying to implement policies and frameworks that would engage youths, it is evident that most of the youths in Africa have more significant problems.
There is no new trend in youth development challenges in African countries. Instead, a combination of factors points to the bigger problem that has become a major national role in the region.
Youth employment scenarios in Sub-Saharan Africa and the North
In sub-Saharan Africa, the unemployment rates are relatively low. The majority of the youths, despite suffering from under-employment and lack of a good working environment, have paying jobs. The total working class which constitutes to 38.1 percent, 23.5 percent are the youth. The women face more challenges than men in getting jobs and experience inadequate working space than men. The most available work is informal employment.
In North Africa, a new scenario is consistently on the rise as a bigger number of literate youths in society are jobless. The unemployment rates are quite high, with 23.8 estimated in 2019 and the high standard of joblessness foreseen to extend in the coming years. The high unemployment rates can be said to be the root of the Arab Springs rebellion in some parts of the Africa countries. In comparison, women’s participation in the labor force is the lowest to that of men all over the world. Most available jobs are formal but still at low rates.
International Labor Organization support on youth employment in Africa
With the International Labor Organization support, youth employment has taken a new direction where it aims at creating opportunities for the youths. ILO employment plan covered three areas, technical assistance, advocacy, and knowledge development and dissemination.
On Technical assistance, the support is primarily through technical development projects. The ILO has put in place professional youth employment cooperation projects in 27 countries across Africa with a budget of over $ 80 million.
Policy advisory services. The organization has taken the mandate to bring in decent working into national and regional development in the African countries. These include legislative advice on basic labor standards. And correct advice on the best possible ways of incorporating youth into development. For example, the incorporation of the national action plans on youth employment and access to money in countries like DRC, Egypt, Malawi, Togo, Uganda, and Morocco.
Employment services. Creating employment services, skill development, and training on the new labor market. These include technical and vocational education, apprenticeship schemes. And specific job skills tailored to support most challenged youths, for example, in Comoros, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Zambia, Liberia, and Benin.
Employment creation. For example, coming up with enterprise and entrepreneurship skill support, sustainable business ideas, and labor-based public works. These skills of trade have helped youths in Kenya, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda, Somali, and Tanzania to be self-employed and create jobs for fellow youths.
Summary of youth employment in Africa
The youth population is increasingly on the rise, and due to fewer jobs, many are left with no option to resort to the available informal jobs. The irony in Africa is the high number of youths getting a quality education, but there are no jobs in the accommodate them. This has made youths involved in risky behaviors to find their way in the Africa hard economy.
On the other side, the International bodies, NGOs, African governments are coming up with policies and strategies that incorporate the youth into development programs. The support in the form of grants, technical training, and skill development in job creation is another step in improving the lives of jobless youths. Despite the challenges, the future is bright for the youths as better practices are in place to bring the needed change.