In most African countries, young people continue to be the bulk of the population. Incidentally, many African countries are the most affected by youth unemployment. Africa has the youngest population in the world and these young adults are among the most vulnerable. Each African country follows different trajectories. Economic structures, level of institutional and political stability, and youth development policies affect social and economic growth.
Issues Causing Youth Unemployment in Africa
The question of youth unemployment on the continent is crucial. As such, the economic structure of African countries plays a significant role in this matter. The levels of education on the continent are comparatively low, creating a considerable skills gap among youth at working age. Those who are educated have a very limited awareness of the opportunities in the labor market. This is because of poor information availability and inappropriate expectations.
Another issue causing youth unemployment is the lack of an environment that would set the stage for growth. Some governments in Africa tend to focus on the export of specific communities or natural resources, often neglecting other aspects of the economy. Others are outright reluctant or have weak political will to develop the private sectors of their economy. Still in other instances, political instability, weak national institutions, and obstructive legal structures do not permit the growth of entrepreneurship. Those conditions are not supportive of business growth and wealth creation.
Potential Solutions to Palliate Youth Unemployment in Africa
The strong growth performance many African countries have shown is an asset for the continent. Equipping the youth with the right skills and opportunities will help Africa move into a more sustained growth path. They need to have the knowledge and know-how that the economy requires. National institutions should promote entrepreneurship in African countries. The continent as a whole also needs to do more to create conditions that these young adults create wealth in Africa.
On a regional level, national governments should set the stage for the creation of a vibrant private sector. Encouraging an entrepreneurial culture among the youth is an effective method to accomplish that goal. Governments should also provide the necessary financial, legal, mentoring, and advisory resources these young adults need. These measure will enable them to tap into the opportunities that each of their country offers. As a result, the ensuing development of successful businesses will lead to job and wealth creation. African countries should also implement a merit-based public service by matching individuals with appropriate skills to the right roles public institutions.
Level of Youth Unemployment’s Impact
The ability of these young people to integrate into the labor market impact not only their well-being, but also their respective regions. Consequently, the entire continent’s economic and social growth will depend on it.