Africa has the largest staff in the world. A recent report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) entitled 2020 Policy Note on Africa: The Future of Production indicated that the continent will host, in 2030, a workforce capable of exceeding 1.6 billion, larger than Asia and South America.
Africa has the largest staff in the world
However, the continent creates very few job opportunities: only 16 million new jobs were created between 2008 and 2016 for young people on the continent (people aged 15 to 24), a tiny number taking in counts the size of the continent’s youth cohort.
The 2015 figures reflect that there were 226 million young people 15 to 24 years in Africa. This means that those in the population who should be working – most of whom are young – are growing faster than the regional economy is able to accommodate them.
It is a well-known reality now that since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the region lost millions of jobs. It is in this context that the recently published report of the first African business initiative, the Anzisha Prize, was labeled. Unlocking Africa’s job creators, highlights eleven lessons recommended as key to helping young Africans become job creators rather than applicants. The initiative considers entrepreneurship as the key to job creation and solving the continent’s economic problems.
Emphasizes that entrepreneurship, supported by a policy framework designed to respond to challenges such as cultural aversion (a consolidated system that favors one culture over another based on race), weak education systems and bureaucracy, can help young people on the continent to create more than a million jobs by 2030. These would be jobs created by the younger segment of the population, which would contribute to the overall creation of jobs.
The data contained in Unlocking Africa Job Makers was collected over a period of ten years (2010 to 2020) since the Anzisha Award began its work on the continent. And an important discovery made in the process of collecting this data was that young people create jobs for other young people. This is the first lesson highlighted in the report.
According to Nhlawulo Shikwambane, program coordinator: Very young entrepreneurs of the Anzisha Award, 17-year-olds are more than capable of starting a business.
“We’ve seen many of them join the initiative as Anzisha Award fellows between the ages of 17 and 22, building their businesses from scratch and quickly creating teams of peers who then grow up together with them. “.
“Take Vanessa Ishimwe, for example. A 23-year-old founder of the Youth Initiative for Development in Africa (YIDA), an organization that trains young people in education, entrepreneurship and leadership skills, is based in a refugee camp in Uganda. YIDA has enrolled more than 800 children in early childhood development school and employs 31 people, 15 of whom are young people under the age of 25, ”says Nhlawulo.
He adds that this also showed that young people can start businesses from almost anywhere on the continent: “They do it from anywhere and under any circumstances. In deep rural Africa and in cities.
And having seen over 122 fellows in our very young entrepreneurs program and having learned of the additional 20 who joined in 2020, I know many of them are pioneers in their industries and rely on their own resources. to drive their own growth. Imagine what would happen if everyone (political leaders, governments, big business, civil society organizations, investors, teachers and parents) took united and deliberate action to support these young people. “
According to the report, young people’s inexperience is perhaps their main asset.
It is argued that this is because they are less likely to be discouraged from trying new solutions for fear that they will not work, and are perhaps more likely to enter an industry by asking questions where others have previously relied on unquestioned assumptions. It helps you meet these challenges alongside friends, with teams that form, learn, and grow quickly together.
“Young people are more permeable to new knowledge. They have not yet formed rigid ways of thinking, which makes them highly innovative and agile, very important ingredients for current business success and sustainability, ”he concludes.
This article was written by Nhlawulo Shikwambane, coordinator of the program: Very Young Entrepreneurs at the Anzisha Prize.
Featured Image: Nhlawulo Shikwambane, Program Coordinator: Very Young Entrepreneurs at the Anzisha Award.