AfDB Reviews Youth Employment in Fragile States

11/04/2011
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Youth unemployment situation in Africa in general and the challenges it poses in fragile states in particular was the subject of a brainstorming session organized by the Bank’s Fragile State Unit (OSFU) on Thursday, 7 April 2011. Discussions on the theme: “Job Creation in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations,” helped to enrich the Bank’s knowledge base, and other participants on generating and sustaining gainful and productive employment for youth in fragile and conflict-affected countries.  Apart from experts from the Bank’s Chief Economist’s Office, (ECON), the Private Sector (OPSM) and Human Development Department (OSHD), other participants came from the World Bank, International Labor Organization (ILO) and OECD.

While highlighting country specific characteristics which should be taken into consideration when developing youth employment programs in fragile states and member countries, participants underscored the need to generate sustainable and meaningful jobs. They also emphasized the need to address security and rule of law problems in post-conflict states. In this regard, some participants suggested that the youth were not always involved in conflict and violence just because they were idle and unemployed.  

The participants noted that the main drivers of youth unemployment in Africa include:

  • Lack of employment opportunities due to the level of underdevelopment of the economies propelled into a vicious cycle of higher rates of unemployment and underemployment and limited growth; 
  • High rates of population growth; 
  • Sluggish or stagnant economies
  • Small formal private sector ; 
  • Low literacy and numeracy rates;
  • Poor quality education and an education sector that increasingly equips young people with limited industrial skills.

The seminar further looked at the role of the private sector in fragile states, particularly in view of the high risk business environment that exists in these countries. In conclusion, participants emphasized the need for public sector accountability and effective management mechanisms. Insufficient good governance mechanisms in Africa should therefore be addressed, the participants concluded.


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