Unemployment: Need To Reinforce Combat Strategies

One of the most challenging tasks of African leaders, especially those in Sub-Saharan Africa, is youth unemployment. For several decades, African leaders have conceived strategies to get their youths out of the unemployment hurdles. Most of the leaders put in place economic policies either through national endeavours or with support from international partners. Some such major decisions were at one time seen in efforts of massive privatization of enterprises following support from foreign partners like the International Monetary Fund, IMF. While many expected that the privatization process should sum up to expansion, diversification of production and creation of new jobs, constant demographic growth has often made the situation of job-creation difficult to tackle. Day-in-day out, prosperous emblematic enterprises, especially in the industrial and agricultural domain, keep on having hard choices to make due to internal and external factors, challenging investment options that rather block possibilities for growth. In some cases, the labour market is dominated by non-nationals in violation of the texts, as officials of the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training have been decrying. Thus, efforts to redress the situation at times are dwindling. In situations where some youths are needed, they are specialisation setbacks that reduce them to the level of temporary workers or permanent staff with low wages. For enterprises or corporations that are struggling to have a stand, putting in place cumbersome structures with the aim of revamping the enterprise at times produce mixed results, because maintaining heavy allowances and bringing in expatriate personnel help in draining the enterprises of highly-needed resources. While these problems persist, it must be admitted that the lack of transparency in the recruitment of youths can serve as a deterrent factor. Some enterprises recruit using back-stage measures. In many situations, we hear and read about the creation of companies especially in areas like banking, petroleum, mining etc. These sectors evidently require skilled labour. To accept a simple employment application in some of these enterprises is like a camel going through the eye of the needle due to the technicalities involved in the job description. The frustrations and many more, make some African youths to lose hope in their continent. That partly explains why some are multiplying strategies to travel abroad. “Europe, America, Canada and Australia at all costs” is the prevailing slogan among the unemployed. Hardly a day goes by without news of hundreds of African youth drowning in the Mediterranean Sea in attempts to look for greener pastures. How can a rich and highly gifted continent like Africa with natural resources become the laughing stock? Recent statistics published by the International Organization for Migration sends one shivering. That, over 77,000 Africans do try to cross what has been dubbed the “deadliest border in the world” yearly despite the risk in search of better life is unthinkable. The hike in the number of migrants during these last years, has been attributed largely to unemployment in most African countries. That is only through the Mediterranean Sea. Out of this number, nearly half do lose their lives. Though the big issue here is the loss of lives, the work force that is being drained is also a call for concern. If our resources are well managed and the spinoffs distributed equitably, our economies would boom and the phenomenon of youths departing Africa on a daily basis would be a thing of the past. To curb the unemployment phenomenon, African leaders and governments must embark on massive job creation initiatives. Though latest estimates by the ILO show that there is a very high rate of unemployment among young Africans with most of them leaving the rural areas for the cities and those from cities to mostly Europe, there are still high hopes that these youths can make ends meet through agriculture. This can be done by making a progressive shift to higher value-added sectors, such as agroprocessing, manufacturing or other industries. This will have the double benefit of more employment in higher productivity sectors, as well as an increase in markets and incomes for youths involved. Even though agriculture is the backbone of mo...

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