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Nigeria country office of the African Development Bank launches jobs report
The Nigeria country office of the African Development Bank on 28 October 2019 launched the Bank’s ‘Creating Decent Jobs: Strategies, policies and instruments’ report in Nigeria.
The report, first launched last month in Abidjan, cites growth in the African labour force as the fastest globally. However, successive years of robust macroeconomic policies, which have aided the remarkable economic growth rates for nearly two decades, have not created the jobs required to absorb the increasingly growing labour market entrants or led to sufficient poverty reduction. To reverse this trend economic growth needs to be sustained at higher levels in order to create the estimated 20 million new jobs needed annually by 2030.
Nigeria, with the highest number of youth on the continent, has witnessed an unprecedented population boom over the past 40 years. If this trend is maintained, the youth population in Nigeria will exceed 130 million by 2063 and all will need decent jobs to avert an employment catastrophe, potentially producing renewed emigration, increasing social conflict and insecurity.
These concerns set the tone for discussions on the report. A dialogue session involving youth entrepreneurs, academics, development partners, public and private sector representatives, drew spirited discussions on the proposed recommendations and lessons to be learned from countries such as China that have succeeded in reducing unemployment and poverty.
Sarah Anyanwu, professor of economics at the University of Abuja, reviewed the report, highlighting key issues and the actions required to create decent jobs in Nigeria and Africa more generally.
“What is a job if it is not decent?” asked Ebrima Faal, senior director for the Bank in Nigeria, prompting debate on the concept of decent jobs.
International Labour Organisation country director, Dennis Zulu, described the four components of a ‘decent’ job as rights, access, social protection and social dialogue. A well-supported recommendation was made, looking at ways of addressing economic and labour market informality and transforming vocations and skill development programs to create decent jobs.
Faal also made an urgent call for collective, concrete and impactful solutions, calling for accelerated action. “This is why the African Development Bank has prioritised job creation in its strategic priorities. This report provides several strategies, policies, and effective instruments relevant to the unique challenge of creating millions of decent jobs in Africa,” he added.