THE African Development Bank (AfDB) has launched a Youth Advisory Group that seeks to create 25 million jobs in Africa with target impact on 50 million youths over the next 10 years.
The Presidential Youth Advisory Group (PYAG) was launched by the bank’s president, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, in Cote d’Ivoire this week. In a statement, AfDB said PYAG provides insights and innovative solutions for job creation for Africa’s youth, as outlined in the bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy.
“The Jobs for Youth in Africa initiative aims at creating 25 million jobs and impacting 50 million youth over the next 10 years by equipping them with the right skills to get decent and meaningful jobs. It is currently the largest effort going on for youth employment in Africa today,” said the bank.
The advisory group, which will work with AfDB was inaugurated on the sidelines of the 6th European Union-Africa Business Forum in Abidjan on Monday.
“This is a huge opportunity for Africa. If we fix the youth unemployment challenge, Africa will gain 10-20 percent annual growth. That means Africa’s Gross Domestic Product will grow by $500 million per year for the next 30 years. Africa’s per capita income will rise by 55 percent every year to the year 2050,” Dr Adesina was quoted as saying.
The AfDB president identified the youth as Africa’s greatest asset, noting that out of the 13 million youths that enter the labour market each year, only three million (33 percent of African youth) were in wage employment.
He said the rest were underemployed or in vulnerable employment. The annual gap of more than eight million jobs was going to worsen, with the number of youth expected to double to over 800 million in the next decades.
“Africa has an unemployment crisis among its youth,” he stressed, noting that unless employment opportunities are created for them, Africa’s rapidly growing population of youths can give rise to serious social, economic, political and security challenges.
“We recognise the enormous amount of energy, creative and innovative thinking, and entrepreneurial excellence that many of our youth bring to the table.
“For this reason, the bank must ensure that it is well advised by cutting-edge youth representatives on its policies, actions and programmes, for the benefit of Africa’s youth,” said Dr Adesina.
Members of the PYAG are expected to actively engage private sector partners, government leaders, civil society, donor partners, and other stakeholders in supporting the significant amount of work. AfDB is already doing and promoting across the continent through its Jobs for Youth in Africa strategy.
PYAG is an opportunity for leading young voices in Africa to develop new and fresh perspectives and recommend innovative solutions that will shape AfDB’s support to African countries, and reduce the scourge of youth unemployment.