Unemployment Rates in Africa
Rising unemployment rates in Africa have impacted many African nations over the past couple of years. However, certain regions and countries of Africa have taken a proverbial beating to their employment rates. Unemployment rates in sub-Saharan Africa were surprisingly low at 6.6% in 2020. This can mislead some into believing that Africa does not have an unemployment issue. However, in reality, this number is inflated due to the fact that the majority of these workers are underemployed, vulnerably employed and are simply not making a living wage.

Unemployment rates in Northern Africa stood at more than 30% in 2019. This region has a combined 57.4% unemployment rate for women and 37.7% for men. To reduce such massive percentages, unique programs that ensure employment are arising. As of 2021, Africa’s two largest economies, Nigeria and South Africa, have published labor force data indicating that unemployment is at an all-time high with a steady rise. Throughout these most fruitful ends of the continent, close to one in two individuals between the ages of 15 and 34 do not have a job.

7 Programs that Tackle Unemployment Rates in Africa

  1. The African Development Bank’s Coding for Employment Program: The African Development Bank’s Coding for Employment program holds training modules that promote peer-to-peer collaborative learning and expand digital skills to rural African youth. Coding for Employment partners with Microsoft Philanthropies, providing digital ambassadors an intensive three-month program that teaches web design, digital marketing, critical thinking, project management and communication. This boot camp guarantees in-demand skills that employers require. During the peak of the pandemic, the program had a combined total of 130,000 students with a completion rate of more than 80%.
  2. The FAIRWAY Programme: The FAIRWAY programme addresses key sources of work shortages via nationwide interventions in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and Morocco. The Program also holds these interventions across the Arab States, building on the work of the Fairway Middle East project (2016-2019) that targets low-skilled migrant workers. These interventions work with employers to provide workspaces for African and Middle Eastern people from all regions.
  3. The Egypt Youth Employment Program (EYE): The Egypt Youth Employment Program (EYE) “focuses on economic insecurity, aiming to tackle the root causes of irregular migration, increasing decent employment opportunities for young women and men” as well as increasing the participation of “government and the private sector” in creating employment opportunities in Egypt. Another significant goal this program upholds is teaching Egyptian youth about self-employment skills and financial services. This program could benefit approximately 18,500 young men and women with under-developed working skills.
  4. SIRAYE: SIRAYE kickstarts employment that respects the rights of the individual as well as the rights of workers in terms of conditions of work and safety by promoting inclusive industrialization in Ethiopia. To achieve these goals, the SIRAYE program will focus on further developing local worker’s rights organizations to improve respect for workers’ rights to create greater incomes and compensation, enhanced safety, equality, voice and representation. Beneficiaries of the program include 62,000 workers and employers in factories, officials of government, employers’ and workers’ associations at the national and sectoral level.
  5. Skills Initiative for Africa Project: Skills Initiative for Africa Project concocts Rapid Skills Assessment Toolkits for Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Eswatini, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The initiative creates these toolkits after extensive research on imbalances between the demand and supply of skills that contribute to costly economic inefficacies. This will allow member states to anticipate present and future labor demands in their respective nations and to respond with appropriate skill training.
  6. The Promoting Employment in Nigeria (PEN) Project: The Promoting Employment in Nigeria (PEN) Project will analyze Nigeria’s current labor market situation, and in turn, will work with the Federal Government of Nigeria and any relevant stakeholders in revising the national employment governance framework and institutional capacity for the transition to better jobs.
  7. The SKILL-UP Ghana Project: The SKILL-UP Ghana Project focuses on upgrading skills systems for Ghanaian civilians to ultimately include Ghana in trade and economic growth. This program engages institutions to find a better understanding of what career skills are necessary and where to acquire them. As of October 30, 2021, 102 local teachers at the Asuasi Technical Institute have received training from the project to deliver online training to the institution’s students.

All of these projects have recently launched or will be taking place in the near future. The projects have the same goal to help African countries to increase employment rates and become competitive in the international economic arena.

– Fidelia Gavrilenko
Photo: Flickr