Editor’s Note: May 15, 2019

Africa needs to get serious about jobs

South Africa’s unemployment rate increased by 0.5% in the first quarter of 2019 to 27.6%, led by cuts in the financial and construction sectors.

The number is worrying, but high unemployment is old news to South Africans. Despite efforts by successive governments to boost job creation, the rate hasn’t dropped below 20% since 2000.

The story is no less familiar to the rest of the continent.

Of the 10 countries with the highest unemployment rate globally in 2017, 6 were in sub-Saharan Africa.

Worryingly the problem is particularly pronounced among the region’s large and fast-growing youth population. The World Bank estimates that young people make up 60% of total unemployment, despite accounting for 37.5% of the labour force.

In Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, 55.4% of young people are either unemployed or underemployed.

Only one in six people aged 15-35 on the continent are in wage employment according to the African Development Bank. Of those lucky enough to have a job 70% are estimated to be in working poverty, meaning their incomes fall below the poverty line.

The numbers are the price of failing education systems across the continent, and a lack of sorely needed structural economic reform.

It’s putting it mildly to say African governments need to get more serious about jobs.

From The Continent

Sudan’s Transitional Military Council and opposition groups on Wednesday agreed a three-year transition period to civilian rule, just over a month since the ousting of longtime president Omar al-Bashir amid nationwide protests. A final agreement on the power sharing deal is expected to be signed within 24 hours. More: BBC

South African mobile operator MTN plans to raise $555m this year to expand the operations of its Nigerian Unit, the company’s biggest market. The money will be used to improve the efficiency and reach of its network. More: Bloomberg

The Daily Stat


The amount Ethiopia’s government has raised from local and international sources to beautify its capital Addis Ababa. More: Africanews

The Global Perspective

The International Energy Agency has warned that global renewable energy investment is falling short of levels needed to meet the UN’s sustainable development goals and emissions targets set out in the Paris Climate Agreement. Investment would need to more than double by 2030 to meet the targets, requiring a ‘Step-change’ in government policy. More: OilPrice

Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, the world’s two biggest cocoa producers, are reportedly planning to meet with international buyers and processors in June, to discuss proposals for setting a joint minimum price for the crop. This is part of efforts to boost coordination between the two countries, aimed at reducing their vulnerability to price volatility. More: Bloomberg

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