ABIDJAN, Cote d’Ivoire (AfDB)―The President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, has launched the Presidential Youth Advisory Group (PYAG) to provide insights and innovative solutions for job creation for Africa’s youth, as outlined in the Bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy (JfYA).
The Jobs for Youth in Africa initiative aims to create 25 million jobs and benefit 50 million youth over the next 10 years by equipping them with the right skills to get decent and meaningful jobs. It is currently the largest effort going on for youth employment in Africa today.
The advisory group, inaugurated on the sidelines of the 6th EU-Africa Business Forum in Abidjan on Monday, November 27, will work with the Bank to create jobs for Africa’s youth.
“This is a huge opportunity for Africa. If we fix the youth unemployment challenge, Africa will gain 10-20% annual growth. That means Africa’s GDP will grow by $500 billion per year for the next 30 years. Africa’s per capita income will rise by 55% every year to the year 2050,” Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) said at the inauguration of PYAG.
Dr. Adesina, who identified Africa’s greatest asset as its youth, observed that out of the 13 million youths that enter the labor market each year, only 3 million (about 33% of African youth) are in wage employment, while the rest are underemployed or in vulnerable employment. The annual gap of more than 8 million jobs is going to worsen, with the number of youth expected to double to more than 800 million in the next decades.
“Africa has an unemployment crisis among its youth,” he stressed, noting that unless employment opportunities are created for them, Africa’s rapidly growing population of youths can give rise to serious social, economic, political and security challenges.
Africa’s youths, though strong and dynamic, cross the desert or the Mediterranean Sea because they do not find decent jobs in Africa. Graduates are wandering in the streets, jobless. The low level of employment opportunities is also fueling violence and extremism in Africa. “Forty per cent of African youths engaged in armed violence join gangs or terrorist groups because of limited opportunities in their countries,” Dr. Adesina said.
“Sixty-six million African youths earn less than $2 a day, less than the price of a hamburger,” the Bank President emphasized. “Sixty-six million is 8 times the population of Switzerland, 6 times the population of Belgium, the same as that of the UK, France or Italy, and 80% of Germany’s population,” he added.
The Presidential Youth Advisory Group (PYAG) comprises nine members under the age of 40 who have made significant contributions to the creation of employment opportunities for African youth.
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