Unlocking Africa’s  job creation potential Dr Chakravorti, Dean of Global Business at Tufts Fletcher School

Africa grapples with multifaceted challenges hindering job creation for its burgeoning youth population. 

Speaking to Business Insider Africa, Dr Bhaskar Chakravorti, Dean of Global Business at Tufts Fletcher School, emphasised, “The continent produces nearly a million jobseekers every month, but fewer than one in four get a formal job, according to the World Bank.”

Inadequate educational infrastructure, inconsistent education quality, and limited access and affordability across the continent create a substantial risk, particularly for the approximately 650 million individuals aged 17 and under. 

Concurrently, technological transformations, including the green, digital, and AI-enabled shifts, intensify the demand for skills not readily available among the youth. The geographical mismatch between available skills and job locations exacerbates this challenge.

Dr Chakravorti injects a note of optimism: “There is room for hope, however. It is not impossible for Africa to transform into the workshop of the world.”

 He emphasises the potential for technological shifts, if coupled with effective policy interventions, to catalyse inclusive growth, workforce development, and resilient labour markets. 

“These profound technological shifts . . . can act as catalysts to enable African economies to leapfrog and support public and private sector efforts in building a robust workforce, accelerating employment, and fostering resilient labour markets,” he notes.

Promising Sectors for Job Growth

The study points to the digital and green sectors as promising avenues for job growth in Africa. Speaking to Business Insider Africa, Jordan Fabyanske, chief programme officer at Dalberg Catalyst, notes: “Digital and Green sectors offer an opportunity for Africa to leapfrog ahead in its economic development and create the capacity to absorb the burgeoning group of job-seeking youth.”

The emergence of climate-neutral and climate-positive agendas in countries like Kenya points to a unique opportunity to align efforts in spaces such as carbon renewal with new industries and context-relevant green jobs of the future.

Private Sector’s Role

Shamina Singh, Founder and President of the Mastercard Centre for Inclusive Growth, emphasises the private sector’s pivotal role in job creation. Speaking to Business Insider Africa, Singh says, “If all players in the ecosystem embrace their role as positive enablers of the continent’s growth, together we can drive Africa’s digital transformation.

It is both our business strategy and our social responsibility to ensure this. Public and private partnerships and investments have created exponential growth and reduced the cost of mobile and digital technology.”

She sees public-private partnerships as essential for achieving both business objectives and social responsibility.

Robin Miller, Founding Partner at Axum, highlights Africa’s distinctive assets — a young population embracing technology and a thriving informal sector. Miller emphasises sustaining digitally-enabled innovations and supporting young entrepreneurs through public-private-philanthropic partnerships, as seen in Kenya and Rwanda.

To prepare African youth for the future of work, holistic reforms in education systems are essential. According to Jordan Fabyanske, chief programme officer at Dalberg Catalyst, there’s a need for greater alignment between industry and education, continuous skills training, and infrastructure development. — Business Insider Africa.

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