Social scientists are actively involved in working with government officials, academics, the private sector, NGOs and policy officials to understand as well as develop solutions to address the current challenges of graduate unemployment and under employment in sub-Saharan Africa. This is a problem that is close to home for me as an African scholar and a social scientist who undertakes research that has application to social policies and development. I have been keen on understanding and investigating the factors that allow these patterns of unemployment to persist given the enormity of its impact on individuals, households, communities and countries across the continent.
Understanding Sub-Saharan Africa’s Unemployed Graduate Youth Crisis
Sub-Saharan Africa has the fastest growing youth population in the world, with 60 per cent of its population under 24 years old. Harnessing their capability would require increased and focused investments in education, to ensure a healthy labor force that is capable of meeting the demands of our current local and globalized job markets. The International Labour Organization (ILO) suggests that the youth (15–24 years) unemployment outlook for the major economies of the African region remains quite mixed, ranging from 1.8% in Benin to 54.4% in South Africa. ILO further reveals that working poverty rates among youth in sub-Saharan Africa was nearly 70 per cent in 2016, translating into 64.4 million working youth living in extreme or moderate poverty (less than $3.10 per day). According to the same source, the number of poor employed youth has unfortunately risen by as much as 80% over the past 25 years. Many sub-Saharan African countries are experiencing a youth bulge with some having up to 80% of the population under 35 years. Given the region’s emerging demographic projections, this problem will not go away anytime soon. It is my view that for university graduates to effectively contribute to their respective national economies, and address the current youth unemployment crisis, there should be employment initiatives and approaches to transition them to formal employment.Read More