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A Youthful Remedy for Africa’s Youth Unemployment

To create enough jobs for its young people, African countries will need to improve education, expand access to financial services, and encourage civic participation, among other measures. But the biggest impact will come when young people are fully empowered to pursue entrepreneurship.

TORONTO – Across Africa, young people are on the move. This large-scale migration, which is putting economic and social pressure on host countries across the continent, is driven largely by factors like poverty, instability, and natural disasters. But the biggest cause of displacement is a concern shared by many around the world: the inability to find work close to home.

Many African countries have recorded significant GDP growth over the last decade. But the additional wealth has not translated into formal employment. In fact, 70% of workers in Sub-Saharan Africa remain in the informal sector, such as smallholder farming, street vending, and domestic tasks, rather than salaried jobs.

Africa’s youth are the hardest hit by these unemployment and underemployment trends. But young people also hold the keys to the engine of Africa’s struggling job market.