NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 16 – A report by the African Development Bank (AfDB) has highlighted increasing youth employment as one of the solutions to many of the political and economic challenges facing Africa.
Launching the 2012 African Development Outlook published by the AfDB, the Minister for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030 Wycliffe Oparanya said that promoting youth employment will avoid political instability and steer the continent on a growth trajectory.
“We saw the combustible combination of youth and unemployment during the last elections. To avoid political instability, we must steer African economic growth towards job creation for the youth,” he said.
The report says provision of better information on the job market to the youth, eliminating barriers to job creation, matching skills to available employment, planned urban growth and producing quality jobs to replace unattractive ones today will go a long way in ensuring youths are gainfully employed.
According to the report: “The public sector will not be able to absorb the tide of young job seekers because there is little prospect of an expansion in this area. The private formal sector is growing but from too small a base. Attention must be concentrated on the informal and rural sectors because these will overwhelmingly be the source of new employment.”
The publication also contains an in-depth analysis of growth in Foreign Direct Investment inflows into the continent, a trend which the minister said needs to be encouraged and sustained.
It also recommends deepening of regional integration efforts, heavier investment in human resources development, reversal of capital flight and respect for democratic rights, while emphasizing the need for macro-economic stability and absence of violent conflicts.
The minister said that the positive stance adopted by the report in the past has come to be mitigated, as Africa has recorded overall better growth rates than the rest of the world.
“We owe to AfDB much credit for the encouraging picture of Africa’s economic development over the past decade. AfDB provided unchallengeable data that Africa was now among the fastest growing regions of the world,” he said.
The minister cited a report prepared last year by the AfDB titled “The Middle of the Pyramid”, which showed that Africa’s middle class had tripled over the last three decades, with 34 percent of the total African population classified as middle class due to rapid urbanization, access to ICT and mobile phones and growth in financial and trade sectors among others.
The report also received significant contributions from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the European Union, the Economic Commission for Africa and the United Nations Development Programme.