Low level of employment fueling violence in Africa, says AfDB

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The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, has said the low level of employment opportunities is fueling violence and extremism in Africa.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 6th EU-Africa Business Forum in Abidjan on Monday, November 27 while inaugurating Presidential Youth Advisory Group (PYAG), Adesina said 40% of African youths engaged in armed violence, join gangs or terrorist groups because of limited opportunities in their countries,” Adesina said.

“66 million African youths earn less than $2 a day, less than the price of a hamburger,” the AfDB President emphasized. “66 million is 8 times the size of Switzerland, 6 times the size of Belgium, the same size as UK, France or Italy, and 80% of Germany’s population,” he added.

Adesina, who identified Africa’s greatest asset as its youth, 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.

He said the annual gap of more than 8 million jobs is going to worsen, with the number of youth expected to double to more than 800 million in the next decades.

“Africa has an unemployment crisis among its youth,” he stressed, noting that unless employment opportunities are created for them, Africa’s rapidly growing population of youths can give rise to serious social, economic, political and security challenges.

He said PYAG would provide insights and innovative solutions for job creation for Africa’s youth, as outlined in the Bank’s Jobs for Youths Africa Strategy (JfYA).

According to him, the Jobs for Youth in Africa initiative aims at creating 25 million jobs and impacting 50 million youth over the next ten years by equipping them with the right skills to get decent and meaningful jobs.

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On the rationale behind the setting up of the advisory group, President Adesina explained: “We recognize the enormous amount of energy, creative and innovative thinking, and entrepreneurial excellence that many of our youth bring to the table. For this reason, the Bank must ensure that it is well advised by cutting-edge youth representatives on its policies, actions and programmes, for the benefit of Africa’s youth.”

“The members of the Presidential Youth Advisory Group are expected to actively engage private sector partners, government leaders, civil society, donor partners, and other stakeholders; and support the significant amount of work that the Bank is already doing and promoting across the continent through its Jobs for Youth in Africa strategy,” President Adesina added.

The Presidential Youth Advisory Group (PYAG) comprises nine members under the age of 40 who have made significant contributions to the creation of employment opportunities for African youth.

PYAG is an opportunity for leading young voices in Africa to develop new and fresh perspectives and recommend innovative solutions that will shape AfDB’s support to African countries, and reduce the scourge of Youth unemployment.
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