When a wealthy continent is unable to make use of her greatest asset to revamp growth and development, then her ‘leadership’ and those institutions by which her ‘leaders’ order the affairs of her inhabitants must be called into question.
Afrika’s youthful populace (persons aged between 15-35) make up about 420 million of the Afrikan population and an increase to about 830 million is expected in the year 2050. Given the current population growth rate of Afrika’s youth; only a third are gainfully employed, another third are underemployed and the remaining third are those who have to carve out a living for themselves, sometimes selling their invaluable skill-set and talents to terrorism.
For a continent teeming with natural wealth, gifted hands and copious land mass, it is not expected that her youthful populace are rendered victims of the lowly unemployment crisis that has crippled the Afrikan economy and consequent socio-economic growth and development.
What are the factors contributing to the seeming unresolvable unemployment crisis? Which antecedents as well as current social, cultural and political factors have fed and are still feeding the growth of rising unemployment rates among the Afrikan youth?
Economic researchers have reported that the systems of education of most Afrikan countries do not imbue in the Afrikan university graduate the necessary skills required on the Afrikan job market. That is to say; the continuum natural to; centres of learning and their respective field of practice called the ‘job market’ have become two separate entities with repellant properties.
A continent’s education system must without regard to past regimes planted on the Afrikan soil by colonialists be tailored towards training her able-bodied youthful populace in those fields of study that are consistent with her natural endowments.
The continent of Afrika is a respectable source of raw resources; from minds through minerals to spices. Widespread vocational training that will equip the youth with the necessary skills to harness these resources and transform them into end products in demand by the world market is, therefore, a key issue of note that must appeal to the policy of every Afrikan head of state. The continuous adherence to the colonial system of education that is up till date churning out graduates with acquired ‘skills’ that only represents a mismatch with the Afrikan ‘job market’ as well as Afrika’s current level of development makes no sense whatsoever.
We have heard and read of how the West underdeveloped Afrika and Afrikans by the mass transportation of our most able-bodied inhabitants to the so-called ‘New World’ for the purposes of; cheap labour and rapid development during the hey-days of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
Afrika’s most productive citizenry are still being drawn out of her bosom into the wilderness we must admit. It is a trend that has been fashionably named; ‘Brain Drain’. Young Afrikan scholars find themselves migrating to the West in order to carve a survival niche for themselves using all their continent taught them, but the logic behind exiting a land of plenty to go strive for a piece in a foreign land has for long eluded the confines of rationality, or maybe it is because the peace back on the mother continent is reserved only for the ruling elite.
The colonial institutions set up and left for Afrikans are in practical effect serving their intended purposes. The youth of Afrika are Afrika’s greatest asset and if by virtue of Afrika’s ‘leadership’ and those alien institutions employed in governing Afrika’s affairs, Afrika cannot harness her greatest asset for growth and development, then the modes by which ‘leaders’ of the Afrikan continent are made and the socio-cultural institutions by which they exercise their ‘leadership’ mandate must not only be called into question, but they must also endure the trials of a very practical review; throwing out those principles and systems that cannot be modified into flowing with the Afrikan narrative of growth and progress and retaining the ones that can.
The mismatch between the educational sector and the Afrikan job market; representing the primary underlying mismatch between foreign institutions and indigenous Afrikan culture is a major fuel given the wild unemployment fire rapidly spreading throughout the Afrikan continent, burning into ashes the ambitions and future aspirations of the Afrikan youth.
This situation in question is not far removed from the larger network of problems crippling the continent of Afrika. The persons at the helm of Afrika’s socio-economic affairs have for long played stooges to the colonial institutions and body of practice handed over to their predecessors, often times forcing square pegs into round holes, and in situations where they come to the realization that such institutions and practices are not consistent with their native culture, they improvise, and their improvisations usually take many forms; some of which are bloody and backward. These dynamic bear negatively on the inhabitants of the Afrikan continent and in the case of the Afrikan youth, rising rates of unemployment is one of them.
For the interim, governing bodies in Afrika can increase trade tariffs on imported goods, this will most probably attract a backlash from the populace but will as well promote the development of indigenous local industries. The opening of local industries will call for the supply of raw materials. The demand in raw materials will encourage the able-bodied youth to venture into the agriculture sector which is a futuristic sector by the way.
Governing bodies in Afrikan states must hereby open up more vocational training schools to give the Afrikan youth the necessary knowledge and skills with which they will carry out the self-sustaining cycle of production. This will go a long way to improve exchange rates of respective Afrikan states and effectively minimize the negative impact of rising unemployment rates among the youth of Afrika.