Africa must deal with youth unemployment

July 10, 2012 9:02 am


Angola voters out to choose their leaders/FILE
China, July 10 — African nations must do more to tackle the problem of unemployment among young people which could derail economic progress if left unchecked, a senior official from the African Development Bank (AfDB) said on Monday.

“The situation of youth employment thus deserves urgent attention. Not only does it threaten to violate the principle of quality and solidarity between generations, which is an important aspect of social justice this therefore calls for a paradigm shift, ” Mthuli Ncube, the bank’s chief economist and vice-president said at a high level regional policy dialogue on youth employment in Lusaka, the Zambian capital.

According to him, leveraging “this youth cohort productively and effectively” could lead to prolonged economic growth and a substantial reduction in poverty on the African continent. While acknowledging that Africa has recorded unparalleled and sustained economic development in the past decade, the official expressed concern that the growth had not generated the number of jobs necessary to absorb the 10-12 million young people entering the labor market each year.”Governments have found it difficult to bridge the gap between economic growth and job creation. This raises profound policy implications for African governments in terms of economic inclusion, social cohesion and global competitiveness,” he said. “This challenge is formidable and unless there are significant changes in the policy environment, there are likely to be considerable consequences for young people, with associated risks of social unrest and loss of faith in social progress,” he added.

The official however expressed happiness that some countries in southern Africa have started putting in place policies to address youth unemployment but added that governments should prioritize measures that target young people most at risk by strengthening apprenticeship and other vocational training programs for low- skilled youths. While decrying the high unemployment levels in Africa, the official said the fact that Africa has the youngest population in the world presents the continent with an enormous opportunity but indicated that policymakers need to properly nurture the young generation.

The AfDB in collaboration with the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) have since put in place a joint initiative to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of youth employment efforts in Africa. The initiative is aimed at facilitating the implementation of existing plans, with the long-term objective of boosting youth employment in Africa and providing a response to challenges faced.

According to a ILO report, 40 percent of the jobless people in the world are young people and this is estimated at 75 million people. In 2012, it is estimated that the figure will increase to about 79 million. (Xinhua)

3. ACCRA, Ghana: Ghana’s central bank upgrades 50 cedi note to pre-empt counterfeiting

July 9 (Xinhua) — Ghana’s central bank will from next month start issuing new and upgraded 50 cedi notes throughout the country, Governor Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur announced here on Monday.

Explaining the rationale behind the exercise at a press conference, Amissah-Arthur said counterfeiting was becoming so sophisticated that very high quality 20 cedi notes had been introduced into the system. The central bank, he said, was taking the step as the cedi, the country’s currency, like all other currencies the world over, had come under pressure from counterfeiters, both internal and external, with the 50 cedi banknote being the most sophisticatedly counterfeited due to its high value.

According to him, the hologram had become one of the most common features the counterfeit merchants had mastered, but explained that, in most cases, they had turned the name “Bank of Ghana” upside down. “The hologram deceives people; the hologram is so easy to make and is all over the place, and a few of the notes that have entered into the banking system are very fantastic,” he pointed out.

The governor announced that Ghanaians would be given a period within which they would continue spending the old notes alongside the upgraded ones. “But once that period is over, people can only exchange the old notes for new ones at the banks,” Amissah-Arthur stated. He believed that counterfeiting affected the economy of a country as traders lost the value of their goods exchanged for those notes, while confidence in a country’s currency also reduced with persistent counterfeiting.

Introducing the features on the new notes, Deputy Governor Millison Narh said the exercise was to ensure that banknote security was not unduly compromised. “Due to technological advancement, there is a need to continuously improve the security features of banknotes to make them more resilient to potential counterfeits,” Narh added.

Managing Director (MD) of the Barclays Bank Ghana Limited Benjamin Dabrah lauded the speed with which the central bank moved to avert “a looming danger”.”It is fantastic the Bank of Ghana has moved so quickly to deal with an emerging problem in the system,” Dabrah indicated, adding that the move was good for the economy since it would secure people against all the problems associated with counterfeiting.


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