May 7, 2015
By 2035, Africans joining the working-age population (ages 15 to 64) will exceed the number of job seekers from the rest of the world combined, according to a new International Monetary Fund report, CNN reports.
That means it’s increasingly likely that the person — or people — you compete with for a job will be African.
Sub-Saharan Africa will become the main source of new entries into the global labor force, according to the IMF’s Regional Economic Outlook.
Globally though, the labor force growth as a whole is expected to slow down. The 1.7-percent annual growth of the 1990s will slow to less than 1 percent a year in the 2020s. Still, the numbers are huge. Mind boggling.
More than 10 million people join the African labor market each year compared to the U.S., where the job market is expected to increase 10 million in 10 years, CNN reports. The U.K.’s working population, by comparison, is expected to grow by 4.8 million in 25 years starting in 2012. By 2035 in Sub-Saharan Africa, an additional 100 million people will reach working age.
Because of these numbers, the International Labor Organization is focusing on Africa.
“African countries need a more efficient, job-intensive growth pattern,” said Aeneas Chapinga Chuma, regional director for Africa at the International Labor Organization, CNN reports. “We cannot measure our success by growth alone. Employment creation must be a recognized target of macroeconomic policies.”
African economies are generating more income, but that income has to be shared among more people, writes Brookings Fellow Laurence Chandy. “Since the region’s income is growing faster than its population, average incomes are rising and the share of Africans living in extreme poverty is falling — from 60 percent in 1996 to 47 percent in 2011.”
African agriculture has the potential to provide a lot more jobs, according to Amadou Sy, Senior Fellow at the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institute. “By developing productivity in agriculture, other sectors can develop in tandem through the value chain,” he said, according to CNN.
The informal sector provides 90 percent of the 400 million jobs in low-income sub-Saharan African countries, according to the IMF. These jobs do not provide stability and constitute “vulnerable employment.”
There’s concern that the widening gap in the supply and demand for jobs contributes to social instability. Research shows that 40 percent of those who join rebel movements are motivated by a lack of jobs, CNN reports.
Many young people recruited by groups with radical political goals are unemployed, said Andrews Atta-Asamoah, senior researcher for the Institute of Security Studies in South Africa, CNN reports. “Even though ideology plays a significant role, it is also striking to note that many of such young people recruited by groups with radical political goals are unemployed.”
Source: AFK Insider