In 2013, about 73.4 million youths worldwide were unemployed, representing an unemployment rate of 12.6% among them. According to forecasts, this bullish trend of the number of unemployed will be maintained until 2018, at which date it will stabilize around 12.8% (ILO, 2013). Africa where 17% of the youth population in developing countries is living has an employed population consisting essentially of young people. About 43.3% of unemployed people in Sub-Saharan Africa are aged 15-24 years old (ILO, 2012). Unemployment hits educated young people as much as the uneducated youth. A growing proportion of African graduate youths from higher education can no longer be absorbed by the labor market. Between 2000 and 2009, the number of graduates from higher education has trebled to reach 4.9 million in low income countries. This figure will reach 10 million in 2020 (AFDB). Between 2000 and 2011, the continent has recorded 4.9% annual economic growth (World Bank Development Indicators),while over the same period the ILO statistics revealed that the proportion of young people with an employment has gone from 46.2% to 42.6% (ILO, 2012). The inadequacy of the skills offered by the educational system in relation to the labor demand from the economic sectors is a characteristic of the youth labor market in Africa. An important proportion of youth with higher education is exposed to “invisible unemployment”. Indeed, young people are more and more under the constraint of accepting unskilled workers and employees or office employees’ jobs (ILO, 2013).
Image: IRD - Evrard, Olivier