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African Nations Not Creating Enough Jobs for Booming Youth Population

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A new report says African nations are failing to create enough jobs for a booming young population even as some countries have seen strong economic growth.

The latest Ibrahim Index of African Governance sounds a warning for a continent where the sub-Saharan population is projected to double by 2050.

The report which was released on Monday says Africa’s overall GDP has risen nearly 40 percent over the past decade but the continent’s average score for sustainable economic opportunity has increased just a fraction of 1 percent.

“The strong economic growth of the last decade has not created enough jobs for the African population. Satisfaction with Employment Creation, an Afrobarometer-sourced perception-based indicator which assesses the extent to which the public are satisfied with how the government is handling job creation, has decreased by -3.1 points on average over the last ten years. With an African average score of 30.2 in 2017, Satisfaction with Employment
Creation is the third lowest scoring indicator in the Sustainable Economic Opportunity sub-category..” Mo Ibrahim Index

African Countries with the largest youth population include – Nigeria (120.3 million), Ethiopia (65.4 million) and Angola (19.7 million). Nigeria and Angola also have some of the largest increases of population of the decade (26.5% and 35.3%, respectively).

“In 2017, more than one third of Africa’s population (40.8%) were under the age of 15, and this demographic will soon be demanding jobs as a working age population. In 2027 the working age population (15-64) will constitute 57.7% of Africa’s total population (compared to 55.8% in 2018).” Mo Ibrahim Index

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Experts warn of coming turbulence as about 60 percent of Africa’s population is under age 25.

“Africa has a huge challenge ahead. Its large and youthful potential workforce could transform the continent for the better, but this opportunity is close to being squandered,” Mo Ibrahim, the Sudan-born billionaire who leads the foundation behind the report, said in a statement. “The evidence is clear – young citizens of Africa need hope, prospects and opportunities. Its leaders need to speed up job creation to sustain progress and stave off deterioration.”

Strong economic growth doesn’t necessarily lead to more opportunities, the new report says. Nigeria, Angola, Sudan and Algeria have some of the highest GDP in Africa but are among the lowest for job creation.

The report also warns that education in 27 countries across the continent is now on the decline, further hurting the young population’s future.

And “alarmingly, citizens’ political and civic space in Africa is shrinking,” the report adds, meaning less room for an increasingly connected, tech-savvy population to express concerns and seek solutions, with potentially explosive results.

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