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African Economic Conference 2019: Experts identify hindrances in increasing jobs for youth

Devdiscourse News Desk | Cairo | Updated: 04-12-2019 13:31 IST | Created: 04-12-2019 13:31 IST
African Economic Conference 2019: Experts identify hindrances in increasing jobs for youth
The unemployment figures in Africa including the weak capacity of African economies to provide jobs are alarming. Image Credit: AfDB

Over 350 stakeholders converge on Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt to participate in the 2019 African Economic Conference with this year's focus on jobs, skills and capacity development for Africa's youth.

The African Economic Conference 2019 brings together researchers, youth representatives, business leaders, policymakers and media representatives from Africa and around the world to develop policies and strategies that can promote inclusive growth and job creation in the region.

Participants at the first plenary session of the African Economic Conference 2019 identified two main challenges, namely, identifying labor market needs and restructuring African economies. Participants in this session discussed the impediments to government actions, which reduce job opportunities for young Africans. Above all, they believe that they create decent jobs for young people by offering them sustainable alternatives to poverty while improving their daily lives.

The unemployment figures in Africa including the weak capacity of African economies to provide jobs are alarming. Haroon Bhorat, a professor of economics and director of the development policy research unit at the University of Cape Town, points out that 41.4 percent of these young people are African. He notes that the unemployment rate in Africa is 11.9 percent. Worse, 37.7 percent of people with jobs in the African continent survive with insignificant pay. "The problem is that the public sector takes up about 60 percent of the functioning in the African continent. On the other hand, it must play its full role," said Haroon Bhorat.

He also emphasized the requirement to reformulate the mix of sectors that can generate jobs, noting that agriculture and agribusiness should guarantee well-paying jobs. According to him, the industry needs to increase its share of economic growth, given its higher potential to provide decent jobs.

On the other hand, the lack of skills meeting the needs of the labor market in Africa is an aggravating factor of youth unemployment in Africa. In this regard, the Egyptian Minister of Education, Tarek Shawki, presented the experience of the transformation of the education system, with a view to offering practical training to young Egyptians. The government has launched a joint initiative to deliver training tailored to the needs of the industry. The government has created technical training schools, with the support of the private sector. "This common system, funded by the private sector, ensures employment for young people, skilled in the industrial sector," the minister opined.


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