Africa’s Economic Growth is Dependent on Youth

By Mmanti Umoh

Economic growth reaches most people through employment income, so Africa’s challenge is to ensure that economic growth translates into the stable wage-paying jobs that are key to the continued expansion of the consuming class.

Africa has begun to create the wage paying jobs that are necessary to meet the expanding youth labour pool yet according to a McKinsey report “despite the creation of 37 million new and steady salary-paying jobs over the past era, only 28 percent of Africa’s labour force holds such positions. In its place, around 63 percent of the total labour force participates in some form of self-employment, such as subsistence farming or city peddling. If the developments of the past decade last, Africa will generate 54 million innovative, steady wage-paying jobs over the next ten years—but this will not be enough to absorb the 122 million novel players into the labour market expected over the same period. However, by fast-tracking the pace of job creation, there is an approximation that Africa could add as many as 72 million new wage-paying jobs over the next decade, raising the salary-earning share of the labour force to 36 percent. Africa must create salary-paying jobs more quickly to sustain these successes and ensure that growth benefits the majority of its people.”

The way we educate our youth in Africa will make all the difference. Entrepreneurship must be an integral part of every young person’s education. We need to impart not only the technical skills of entrepreneurship, but also the mindset of the entrepreneur, through our formal and informal education systems. Along a path that is beset with challenges—yet alive with possibilities—young people in Africa are fighting their way forward in virtually every corner of the vast continent. Increasingly connected to each other, especially in urban areas, these young men and women have high expectations. Given the right attention from governments, they could collectively be an amazing resource for the region as economies try to rely less on extractive industries and diversify in the manufacturing, services and agricultural sectors.

My vision is to catalyze an ecosystem that fosters Innovation, social entrepreneurship and excellence in Africa. Enabling the youth to create their own solutions to their challenges could be the most effective strategy in dealing with the issue of youth unemployment in today’s entrepreneurial world.

ABOUT THE WRITER
Mmanti Umoh is Image Consultant with focus on Education Management, Youth Development and Community Building in Africa. She is Director of Communications and International Negotiations for Reading House Africa an Education Management and Intervention Corp in Africa. She spearheads diverse action point on Youth development and education dialogues to intervene in the state of information dissemination, knowledge and opportunities in Africa. 

She is the Founder of Africa’s largest teenage entrepreneurial business, professional and mentoring network.

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