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Energy, Employment, and Migration in Africa

African governments and their donors and partners are already committed to investing in skills-building and job creation. Given its implications for employment, development, and migration, there is a strong case for channeling a significant share of that investment toward Africa’s distributed renewable-energy industry.

FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE – Africans are increasingly unsettled. Since 2010, at least one million Sub-Saharan Africans have migrated to Europe, and the number migrating to the United States has also risen. These trends have spurred considerable political anxiety in destination countries. Yet efforts to address a major factor driving this exodus – the lack of employment opportunities in Africa – are failing to yield significant results.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) estimates that, unless stronger action is taken now, 100 million young Africans will be unemployed in 2030. To avoid such a scenario, the Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs, established last year by the European Union and African governments, aims to provide resources for education and skills training, strengthen the business environment and the private sector, and improve investment conditions.

Similarly, over the next decade, the AfDB’s Jobs for Youth in Africa initiative is supposed to equip 50 million young people with marketable skills, and to create 25 million jobs. Most of that employment will be in agriculture, where growth, the World Bank reports, is 2-4 times more effective in raising incomes among the poorest people than growth in other sectors.

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