Africa: AfDB focuses on tech skills to counter youth unemployment crisis

Africa: AfDB focuses on tech skills to counter youth unemployment crisis

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has launched a ‘Jobs for Youth in Africa’ initiative to equip the youth with the necessary technical skills to improve their chances within the job market.

The AfDB aims to create 25 million jobs and benefit 50 million youngsters over the next 10 years.

In an emailed response to ITWeb Africa, the organisation’s chief communications officer Chawki Chahed said during the 2005-2016 period, the Bank approved 62 education projects worth US$1.64 billion in commitments for 6 million youth.

Chahed said the biggest priority was given to vocational and technical training (38% of commitments), with a particular focus on technology, followed by higher education (37%), and selective interventions in the other levels and forms of education (25%).

He added, “Investing in technology skills is the best investment countries can make. Today’s illiterates are those without technology or IT skills. You cannot succeed today without technology skills and all the countries who have invested in technology have experienced exponential growth.”

AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina said Africa has an unemployment crisis among its youth. He observed that out of the 13 million youths that enter the labour market each year, only 3 million (about 33% of African youth) are in wage employment, while the rest are underemployed or in vulnerable employment.

Adesina this week launched a Presidential Youth Advisory Group (PYAG) to deliver on the Jobs for Youth in Africa initiative and actively engage stakeholders (including private sector partners and government leaders) on job creation opportunities.

Siemens’ African Digitalisation Maturity Report 2017 states that effort must be put into creating a culture of innovation in order to better the continent’s unemployment. “The former concern needs to be tempered through a better understanding that digital drives increased productivity, growth and ultimately the creation of employment opportunities.”

According to the World Employment and Social Outlook 2017, the two regions most affected by vulnerable employment are Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. “Working poverty remained a problem in 2016, with nearly half of workers in Southern Asia and nearly two-thirds of workers in sub-Saharan Africa living in extreme or moderate working poverty (i.e. living on less than US$3.10 per day in purchasing power terms).”

Adesina said, “If we fix the youth unemployment challenge, Africa will gain 10-20% annual growth. That means Africa’s GDP will grow by $500 billion per year for the next 30 years. Africa’s per capita income will rise by 55% every year to the year 2050.”

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