The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, information pills Jacob Oulanyah is in Slovenia for the African Day International Conference.
On Thursday Oulanyah presented on youth and job creation at the conference that is annually organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia, approved within the framework of the Bled Strategic Forum and in collaboration with the International Center for Promotion of Enterprises.
The Deputy Speaker told the participants at the conference that the youths are prominent in development.
“Young people are central to achieving the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and its sustainable development goals. Their prominent role is especially recognized in relation to economic growth and education, buy ” he said.
Full Presentation Text
YOUTH AND JOB CREATION
With 200 million young people, Africa is the youngest continent. According to projections, Africa’s population is expected to increase to 3 billion by 2063, with 30% aged between 15 and 24. A rapidly growing youth population is a powerful engine of change and people-driven development, yet it also poses serious challenges related to young people’s access to education and training, the labour market as well as the political sphere. According to the World Bank, African youth account for 60% of Africa’s jobless. On the other hand, many well-educated individuals are subjected to under-employment or other uncertain forms of work, e.g. earning income from multiple sources. Lack of opportunities is therefore related not only to poor access to education or the labour market, but to a set of structural issues. As the World Bank suggests, the job strategies of African countries will have to pay more attention to rural development, investments in agriculture, urbanisation and elements of contemporary labour markets.
On the other hand, the European Union is facing unprecedented demographic changes, with an opposite population picture. The continent is progressively ageing, and while education indicators reveal positive trends, youth unemployment is a serious concern to policy makers. Many deal with long-term unemployment and involuntary part-time work. As the EU Youth Report 2015 suggests, this generation of young people is better educated than any other, but the crisis has created new divisions related to the inactivity, poverty and exclusion of certain groups.
With radically different starting points, similar trends are observed – young people confront high unemployment rates, under-employment and precarious work. Young people in Africa as well as in the European Union face a lack of opportunities.
- Considering its fast and steady economic growth, what labour market programmes and policies are needed to address structural issues and ensure youth employment in Africa? What are the best ways to address growing inequalities among youth populations in Africa and Europe?
The African continent has experienced remarkable economic growth, structural transformation and unprecedented urbanisation. Many countries have improved their investment climate and engaged in macroeconomic policy reforms. However, according to the Economic Commission for Africa, as a latecomer to industrialisation Africa has the opportunity to take an alternative economic path to industrialisation. It should be emphasised that in light of the transformative power of technology, job creation in the future will be influenced by blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres.
- How will fast economic growth affect labour markets of Africa? In what way will digitalisation disrupt traditional job creation in both Europe and Africa?
Young people are central to achieving the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and its sustainable development goals. Their prominent role is especially recognised in relation to economic growth and education. The engagement of youth is underlined also on the Agenda 2063, which is committed to supporting young people as drivers of Africa’s renaissance. This does not entail only economic empowerment – young people should be involved in political decision-making and their voices should be heard in existing power structures in order to shape their future.
The AU’s theme for 2017 is “Harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in youth”. It needs to be emphasised that only investments addressing all major structural challenges will yield dividends of prosperity and sustainable development for youth in Africa, and in Europe as well.
- How can young people be politically empowered? What is their role in addressing growing inequalities and how should we support their initiatives in the areas of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and freedom of expression, science, the economy and other spheres? What kind of national, regional or global investments in young people are necessary to take advantage of the demographic dividend?
As young people are at the forefront of the 5th Africa-EU Summit, it is clear that tapping their potential for achieving prosperity will also play a central role in future relations between Africa and the EU. The panel will therefore address similarities and differences between the continents, as well as opportunities for cooperation on addressing growing complexities related to young people, their role and empowerment on different levels.