Job creation in Africa must match up with her youth bulge. As the continent with the largest proportion of young people, 19.4 percent of the over 1 billion people on the continent are between 15 – 24 years old while 14 years and less makes up about 41 percent of the population.
The informal sector continues to play a crucial role in youth employment as it employs a major fraction of the population in gainful employment. Nevertheless, there is a need for African stakeholders especially the private sector to channel resources into the manufacturing sector which has enormous potential for creating massive job openings across sectors. Asian counterparts such as China, South Korea and Taiwan have generated hundreds of millions of jobs by investing critically into the manufacturing sector. The development result speaks for itself as against African economies who have barely scratched the surface of the existing opportunities in manufacturing.
For logical reasons, Private Equity has ignored the manufacturing in Africa but a window of opportunity has presented itself in the face of rising costs of labour in Asia and growing consumption in Africa. With committed governments who can break the barrier of infrastructural deficits, the continent can ride on the wings of the private sector to break open this endless opportunity to transform the continent in the next few decades via industrialization.
Photo Credit: JENNY VAUGHAN/AFP/GETTY via BBC