Unemployment crisis leading to a loss of about 50 million jobs will ravage the African continent if its various governments don’t opt for market-based development, the Tony Blair’s Institute said in a report.
The massive unemployment crisis, according to the report, would lead to catastrophic consequences for the global economy, which would also make the 2014 immigration service employment debacle in Nigeria a child’s play.
In the Nigeria immigration service employment exercise, there was a stampede as 20,000 people tried to apply for jobs, where several would-be candidates were injured.
The report predicted a shortfall of 50 million jobs, which should serve as a “wake up call” for governments across much of the continent, as well as international donors and agencies.
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The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change analysis, based on World Bank data, indicates that labour force in sub-Saharan Africa will be 823 million by 2040, up from 395 million in 2015. However, total number of jobs is only expected to hit 773 million, it said, leaving 50 million people in Africa unemployed.
The report equally looked at why some African countries, including Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, with great economic potential, have struggled to transform and generate growth that is inclusive for all their citizens.
It said international donors pursuing ‘piecemeal, uncoordinated interventions’ are aggravating matters.
Jim Murphy, former cabinet minister, now of the institute, said: “Unless action is taken, Africa is facing a shortfall of 50 million jobs by 2040. This should serve as a serious wake up call for all. This daunting figure will not only have profound consequences for the whole of Africa and its people, but the impact on the global economy could be catastrophic.”
He added: “International donors need to take a more coordinated approach, taking into account each countries individual needs, helping them to grow their economies and create jobs. Likewise, donor agencies are failing to adequately address the challenges facing the continent in order to prioritise economic growth.
However, the report praised Ethiopia, saying that its successful economic growth is due to a decision to target specific sectors for support.
The institute therefore backed calls for African governments and their international development partners to develop a strategy for inclusive economic growth, to create jobs.
“Prioritising inclusive growth is a smarter, more effective way to deliver the economic prosperity Africa needs,” said Murphy.
The institute argues for “market-based sector development”. Governments, supported by their development partners, should focus on developing sectors that have strong economic potential for competitiveness and create jobs, it said.
This approach, it said, had much in common with the successful growth strategies employed by many East Asian countries, as well as Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius and currently, Ethiopia.
The report highlighted the progress of Botswana, Ethiopia and Mauritius, which it said had made significant progress in recent decades, due to a political leaders working alongside stakeholders and development partners.
It said developing sectors to transform an entire economy requires focus over many years, giving Mauritius, Ethiopia and Botswana as examples.
Mauritius spent 10 years focusing on textiles and a subsequent 10 years in tourism, while Ethiopia and Botswana focused on agriculture and services, respectively for 20 years.
The report laid out four elements and a “roadmap” for governments and development partners to follow, which focuses on a modernised version of industrial policy.