Statistics have shown that unemployment between young people aged 15–24 years old in sub-Saharan Africa has hovered between 12% and 14% since the global financial crisis hit Africa in 2008. These numbers exclude the youth in vulnerable employment and the underemployed in informal sectors, who make up at least 70% of the population.
As if the above statistics are not bad enough, further speculations imply that by the year 2045, the youth population is expected to double over 400m. So what can be done to change this situation?
Tony Elumelu, the chairman of the investment company Heirs Holdings, a philanthropist and founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation for Young African Entrepreneurs, in an interview with African Business magazine said, “The private sector, and not just the government, will have to play a critical role in finding solutions to the issues of youth unemployment. One of the things the private sector can do is to increase investment in Africa,” he said.
It is also a known fact Africa has the highest amount of mineral resources. So why do we still have a high percentage of unemployed people when we can create jobs that will keep people working remotely instead of seeking greener pastures abroad?
what then is the hope for the young upcoming, creative and visionary youth in their own country?
With the invention of technology, using mobile technology as a case study, getting work done and carrying out business transactions have been made easier and more flexible. With an internet connection and a smart device, people can transact business from anywhere in the world, even from the comfort of their homes. This provides the luxury of having flexible work hours and the possibility of taking on multiple jobs at a time.
In Africa, it is estimated that by the year 2020, the number of Smartphone users are expected to rise from 7.2million, in 2013 to 525million. This makes room for the advancement of remote work and digital technology in Africa. However, in curbing the rate of unemployment amongst the youths in Africa, more work needs to be done in the area of investing in Africa.
From 2010 to 2017 due to the high rate of unemployment in Africa, the number of young talents that migrated to Europe, which is a near-eruption volcano of emigrants, has increased from 58,000 to 168,000. These youths use their gifts to benefit their new host country while their country of origin is left without a solution.
On the 30th of August 2016, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook visited Nigeria and one of his stops was at the Andela Amity Campus. Andela is an African company that identifies and develops talented software developers from Africa to help companies scale. On his complimentary visit to the campus, he had a closed-door discussion on the learning science powering Andela and the company’s success in placing world-class African software developers with technology companies around the world. Andela highlights an important reality of today’s workplace ever-evolving and their mission emphasizes that physical location is no longer a requirement for building a world-class engineering team.
Imagine that we had more private sectors like Andela who are willing to invest in the lives of African youths: people willing to do what the government can’t do. It will not only provide flexible work hours for millions of African youths, reduce the rate of unemployment, but it will also make Africa a hub for remote work; a place where the youths are happy to live in and work without having to look for greener pastures abroad.
However, besides all these norms and believes, there have been only few amount of african youths involving in the rapid movement of digital entrepreneurship and several self-owned business to confer the opportunity to work remotely and provide well profitable income for a good living and standard for themselves.
Therefore African government must create a lasting solution that will has the merit of being viable in the long term and that can redifine it’s global environment, this way young emerging talented Africans would have the opportunity to work remotely including through digital advances instead of migrating to Europe which is already a near-eruption volcano.