Youth – The Continent’s Greatest Asset

Young people – people under the age of 35 – make up approximately 70 % of the continent’s population of 1.2 billion with the trend continuing to grow. This population structure is an asset that should be harnessed to support socio-economic development within the member states of the African Union.

Currently, the unemployment rate among them is estimated to be three times the average unemployment rate. Less than 10 % of them have access to the decent jobs that are generated by the formal sector. 60% are entrepreneurs, out of which 72 % are necessity entrepreneurs. Only 10 % of Africa’s young people have access to university education, which is often considered a prerequisite for entry into the formal labour market. They further lack access to alternative career pathways and relevant skills for work which could be addressed by the provision of vocational training and support to young entrepreneurs.

In order to address these challenges, governments, education and training institutions, as well employers have to work closer together, while taking into consideration ideas from Africa’s young people themselves. The goal is thereby to develop education and training programmes that match the current and future needs of employers and to support young entrepreneurs in their journey to success.

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