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Worrying forecast for Africa: 50 million unemployed!

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There is a serious unemployment crisis looming over Africa. A report by Tony Blair’s Institute for Global Change said that there will be 50 million unemployed youth in Africa by 2040 – just 23 years from now, which could cause considerable havoc on the continent.

Unemployment is already a major problem in Africa. Just three years ago, dozens were killed in a stampede when a crowd of 20,000 job seekers stood in a queue to fill up a position in the Nigerian immigration department.

The labor force in Africa is 395 million strong as of now. It is expected to be 823 million by 2040. However the number of jobs that are available will only be 773 million, according to the study. This creates a direct shortfall of 50 million jobs, or 50 million unemployed youth. Such a large population of unemployed young people can be dangerous for any country or continent.

The worst affected will be the Sub-Saharan nations such as Liberia, Malawi, Ghana, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.  These are countries with great potential, but where people face tremendous shortage of jobs and business opportunities.

However international donors are not helping much with their “piecemeal, uncoordinated interventions” says Jim Murphy of the institute. He adds, “Unless action is taken, Africa is facing a shortfall of 50 million jobs by 2040. This should serve as a serious wake up call for all. This daunting figure will not only have profound consequences for the whole of Africa and its people, but the impact on the global economy could be catastrophic.”

“International donors need to take a more coordinated approach, taking into account each countries individual needs, helping them to grow their economies and create jobs. Likewise, donor agencies are failing to adequately address the challenges facing the continent in order to prioritise economic growth,” Mr. Murphy says.

One country that has addressed the unemployment problem well is Ethiopia. That country has focused on economic growth with an emphasis on private sector job creation. That is the way to go, says Mr. Murphy: “Prioritising inclusive growth is a smarter, more effective way to deliver the economic prosperity Africa needs.”

What Africa needs is a job growth based on market-based sector development, according to the Tony Blair’s Institute for Global Change. Governments and the industry should focus on developing sectors that have enormous economic potential and are capable of creating millions of jobs. Jobs are the main priority.

This is an approach that has been used well by some African nations such as Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius and Ethiopia. These countries have made a lot of progress in recent years because of the mutually beneficial partnership between the industry and the government in these countries.

While many countries in Africa have achieved rapid economic transformation, if this is not accompanied by a corresponding growth in jobs, this can create great social problems, and could even result in the sort of civil wars that we saw in Sudan, Somalia and Rwanda in the past.

Author: Raghav Hegde – India

sourcephoto: cnn

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