Global unemployment rates are high. In past articles, we explained the statistics and reasons why. This article will propose solutions to solve the unemployment crisis in Africa.
South Africa’s unemployment rate rose to 35.3% in the fourth quarter of 2021. Trade Unions have warned this could rise to 50% in the next quarter. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has called for interventions. Particularly the country’s government to create jobs in the mining, manufacturing, and agricultural sectors. They also proposed that The Presidential Employment Stimulus funding be doubled to R30 billion. This will help create one million job opportunities for the youth. Other suggestions included a more responsive education system that builds workforces with futureproof skills. Cosatu said this is needed to cope with ever-growing unemployment and inequality. Other suggestions included banks providing affordable and accessible credit for youth businesses.
The green economy has been identified as one solution to the unemployment crisis in South Africa. It can innovate solutions to youth unemployment and local environmental issues. The fact is the youth will bear the burden of climate change effects. The “Step Up 2 a Green Start-Up” is a national youth entrepreneurship programme. It challenges students to identify local environmental problems and transform them into business opportunities. The startup also provides bursaries, incubation, and internships to students. The programme empowers 12000 learners per year to learn about the climate crisis and mitigate and adapt against it. It needs more government and private sector support for maximum impact.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has prioritised tackling youth unemployment. He said it required accelerated economic growth in labour-intensive sectors. This is to be supported by building the capability of the state to fulfil its role in development.
This is to be done with targeted interventions. It includes establishing a National Pathway Management Network, ‘SA Youth’. This makes it easier for youth to access opportunities and receive active support in finding jobs.
The Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) survey established that the country’s unemployment rate is at 20% for the fourth quarter of 2021. The report estimated the total number of employed persons is at 3 million. The Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU) criticised the statistics, saying it does not align with the reality on the ground.
The ZFTU said the actual figure for organised employment is hovering between 70% to 80%, not the established 20%. The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) said the problem lies in the definition of employment. They said most people in the informal economy are used to conclude that 20% are unemployed.
In 2021 the World Bank Zimbabwe Economic Update (ZEU) projected economic growth by recovery of the agriculture sector. Zimbabwe also has an enormous youth unemployment problem. In 2008 Zimbabwe’s unemployment rate was estimated to be the highest globally at 70-95%.
One of the key proposed solutions to tackling youth unemployment has been strengthening youth entrepreneurship. Calls have been made for the government to promote and enhance existing structures like the Ministry of Small and Micro Enterprises, Ministry of Youth, Zimbabwe Youth Council, vocational training centres and microfinance schemes like the Youth Fund. These also need to include youth in rural areas and those from vulnerable groups. Another essential factor that needs to be addressed is research. The unavailability of search into unemployment facing youth in Zimbabwe has led to limited data required to solve the problem. Without proper research and authentic data, policies passed may not help.
Zimbabwe needs to create an environment for investment. This can be done by improving relationships with the global world to attract it. The country is also an agro-based economy; driven by agri-business. This sector needs full utilisation of its agro companies. Its government also must create specific interventions that ensure youth have education and skills that contribute to its development. Youth also need clearer and easier access to business loans. The informal sector needs formalisation to include rural based youth. The Zimbabwean government has identified entrepreneurship to achieve economic growth. This should also be concentrated in rural areas. A youth development programme developing technical, business, and entrepreneurial skills for unemployed youths with no tertiary and advanced secondary education is also a good starting point. One collaborates with parastatals and local councils that give basic skills programmes to unemployed youth. These intersecting solutions can go a long way in combating the unemployment crisis in Zimbabwe.
The YUVA Mauritius online employment portal helps youth find jobs and facilitates applications. YUVA’s portal has helped connect thousands of unemployed youths with job opportunities.
YUVA Intern Ling Sheperd is a writer based in Cape Town, South Africa. She is passionate about social justice and equity.