African countries need to create 20 million jobs annually until 2030 to be able to absorb new entrants into its labor market. This is according to a policy research document by the African Development bank, AfDB.
Speaking at the launch of the document titled “creating decent jobs strategies policies and instruments”, the Senior Director Nigeria Country Department of AfDB, Mr. Ebrima Faal said Nigeria and other African countries need to make conscious efforts at job creation as well as implement strategies that can provide decent jobs in a sustainable manner.
Mr. Faal said that considering Africa’s rapidly growing population which is projected to reach 2.5 billion by 2050, the current job crisis confronting the continent has the potential to exacerbate its current economic, political, and social problems if not addressed.
“While this can be a major asset constituting the source of workforce for economic and social development by creating decent jobs and empowering economic activities, it also has the potential to exacerbate the current economic, political, and social problems,” he said.
He explained that quality jobs were low as more people were drawn into the informal, predominantly family operated businesses adding that the younger population has continue to bear the burden of population growth.
“the growth in the African labor force is the fastest globally, but successive years of robust macro-economic policies have not created the jobs required to absorb the increasingly growing labor market entrants or led to sufficient poverty reduction.
“The observed structural changes do not seem to be growth enhancing and lack an employment generation capability, what is worse, the youths who constitute majority of the population in all countries are carrying most of the burden of the labor market crisis,’’ Faal said.
Looking at the Nigerian situation, the Senior Director at AfDB said that Nigeria’s population is expected to double from about 200 million today to 401.3 million people by 2050.
He noted that with youth population in Nigeria would exceed 130 million by 2063 “and, this will need decent jobs to forestall a catastrophe beyond the magnitude we are currently experiencing,’’
He therefore advocated for bold political will and concerted, sustainable policy efforts to facilitate Federal Government’s declaration that would create 100 million jobs in Nigeria within 10 years.
Speaking, the Minister of Labor and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige, said that the Federal Government was ensuring local industrialization and provision of infrastructure to create more jobs.
Ngige explained that the Nigerian Government was committed to reversing the crisis arising from unemployment rate in the country.
“unemployment in Africa is a threat and must be tackled strategically if the continent must be saved from an impending colossal imminent disaster and this would have far reaching consequences, therefore reduction in high unemployment rate is on the front burner of Nigeria’s government development plan, and the federal republic of Nigeria has not rest on our oars on matters of easing unemployment in different forms in the country”.
The Creating Decent Jobs: Strategies, Policies, and Instruments policy research document highlights the role of prudent macroeconomic policies and shows the best way to use special economic zones, industrial parks, agro processing zones, skill enhancement zones and apprenticeship and incubation programmes to help government and private sectors create strong demand for formal sector employment.