Africa should develop joint strategy to reduce unemployment – UN

The UN labour agency on Thursday urged Africa’s government, private sector, trade unions to develop joint strategy to increase supply of decent jobs in order to reduce unemployment.

Susana Puerto, Senior Youth Employment Specialist, who stated this at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) forum in Nairobi said that a bulk of African youth were working in informal sectors of the economy.

“We are, therefore, calling for a joint strategy to be developed by all key stakeholders that will ensure Africa youths have access to formal jobs,” said Puerto.

Puerto said that in spite of broad perceptions, unemployment levels in sub-Saharan Africa are approximately 12 per cent.

She added that sub-Saharan Africa had relatively high employment levels because the youth have to make a living and, therefore, do any jobs that are available.

“As a result, most of the youth are in the informal sector which is characterised by low productivity and lack of social protection,” she noted.

The ILO official rooted for the academic institutions to train students with skills that employers are seeking in order to boost employment rates.

Puerto said that the large informal sector means wasted potential for the millions of youth, who eke out a living from that sector.

“There is, therefore, need for strategy to help the African labour force transit to the formal sectors,” she added.

Njuguna Ndung’u, Executive Director of African Economic Research Consortium, said that youth employment remains one of the most urgent challenges for policy makers in Africa.

Ndung’u said that the number of young people, who join the labour force annually exceeds the rate at which stable wage paying jobs are created.

He noted that harnessing the potential of Africa’s youth continues to be at the forefront of government and donor agendas.

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