Here’s how to create decent jobs in Africa
Posted Thursday, August 16 2012 at 17:51
- Scholars and leaders from different parts of Africa have come up with ideas for creating more employment
The growing youth unemployment is creating increased anxiety.
According to recent information from the International Organisation (ILO), the world is facing a worsening situation in this area.
“In 2012, close to 75 million young people worldwide are out of work. Four million more are unemployed today than in 2007. More than six million have given up looking for a job. More than 200 million young people are working but earning under US$2 a day,” the organisation warns in a report following the 101st session of the International Labour Conference held in Geneva in June.
Titled The Youth Unemployment Crisis: A Call for Action, the report advises that the youth unemployment crisis now requires governments to burn the midnight oil to facilitate creation and maintenance of “decent and productive jobs.”
Last week, discussions about the situation in Africa suggested that there was a huge potential in the continent for creating jobs for these people.
According to UNDP’s regional director, Dr Tegegnework Gettu, African economies are on average expected to grow at about 5.4 per cent this year.
Future prospects are positive, and all that is left is for their potential to generate employment to be unleashed through progressive policies, political goodwill, and noble leadership.
Dr Gettu said this last week at the Third Africa Governance, Leadership and Management Convention in Mombasa. He was not the only one expressing concern about the massive youth unemployment in the continent.
“Everywhere we turn to in Africa, the story is the same. Unemployed young people are in huge numbers,” complained former president of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo while delivering his speech as the patron of the convention.
“The lack of opportunities for them to unleash their creative energies positively has turned them into desperate young men and women, unfortunately becoming ready-made tools for unwholesome activities,” he warned. “The buck stops at the table of African governments,” he declared.
The convention was organised and hosted by the Kenya Institute of Management (KIM) and Nigeria based Africa Leadership Forum (ALF). It ran under the theme, “Towards sustainable Wealth and Job Creation: Challenges and Opportunities for Africa.”
After four days of presentations and candid discussions by speakers representing diverse sectors, one thing was clear: that for the runaway unemployment among young people to be tamed, wealth must be generated and sustained big time.
For that to happen, governments in Africa must once and for all make it easier for businesses to invest, exist, thrive and trade both within and across national borders.
The question of unemployable graduates due to mismatches between what employers wanted and the skills given to college and university graduates arose once again. Apparently, it is a problem affecting many African nations.
It is the reason the communiqué delivered on August 9 at the closure of the convention highlighted education and training as one of the key areas that governments in Africa needed to re-invent through policy changes.
There was a general agreement that many education systems had not been re-engineered to suit the times, hence the emergence of frustrated “unemployable” graduates in many African states.
“Education and training should consciously seek to produce graduates that the labour market is in need of, while the labour market will have to work with educators and trainers to develop curricula that will produce graduates who are better attuned to the continent’s wealth creation and employment needs,” stated part of the communiqué.
The other areas that participants identified as key to creation of employment include research and development to promote innovation, infrastructural development to speed up regional integration and trade, and access to capital and finance to support entrepreneurship.