Unemployment in Africa: no jobs for 50% of graduates

Almost half of the 10 million graduates churned out of the over 668 universities in Africa yearly do not get job, Kelvin Balogun – President of Coca-Cola, Central, East and West Africa – has said.

Speaking at this year’s Africa Transformation Forum in Kigali, he said it is time the private sector works with governments to bring this canker to an end, saying: “We need to build our human capital to bring about the development of Africa.

“Unemployment is a general problem in Africa and there must be a partnership between governments and the private sector to address it.

“At Coca-Cola we realised that most of the labour is not very competent, but we pick them and retrain them,” he said

Mr. Balogun urged corporate bodies to employ and retrain graduates to fit their job standards, so as to reduce growing unemployment on the continent.

He said like other corporate bodies, Coca Cola has a role to play as the company employs about 70,000 Africans and has programmes to train and recruit interns every year.

Experts have argued that youth unemployment and underemployment are among the main barriers to development in West Africa.

They said not only does the exclusion of young people from the labour force perpetuate generational cycles of poverty, it also breaks down social cohesion and can be associated with higher levels of crime and violence among idle youth.

According to data from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in sub-Saharan Africa, the youth unemployment rate hovers around 12 percent. While this is slightly lower than the global youth unemployment rate of 12.4 percent, the African region has the world’s highest rate of working poverty — people who are employed but earning less than US$2 a day.

Despite being Africa’s most educated generation to emerge from schools and universities, a youth in Africa is twice as likely to be unemployed when he/she becomes an adult, ILO said.

Africa has the largest “youth bulge” in the world, and the number of youth is expected to grow by 42.5 million between 2010 and 2020, says the World Bank.

Read more at B&FT Online


  1. koumeda angoni pierre paul says:

    Am very happy of the document, we most reduce unemployment in Africa

  2. […] from universities across the continent each year do not get jobs, according to statistics by African Centre for Economic Transformation […]

  3. Isaac Aiyelaagbe says:

    Mr. Balogun’s remarks are right on the mark. Training Curricular in Tertiary Institutions need to be reconfigured to meet the current challenges/demands of the job market. National governments in Africa must invest more in qualitative education. Our youth need to be less lethargic, better self motivated and be passionate about excellence

  4. Kavuma henry says:

    Strong points from Mr. Balogun
    Most of particularly ugandan universities arr based on theory rather than the practical skills.
    I therefore think the education system should be the first to implement

  5. […] Almost half of the 10 million graduates churned out of the over 668 universities in Africa yearly do… […]

  6. Samoa Drame says:

    Unemployment is bad for student who graduate.

  7. […] speed internet, large amounts of money, laxity in laws and most importantly unemployment has led to rise of cyber-crime in the […]

  8. […] 10 million graduates enter the labour market in Africa each year, half of whom fail to find a job. At 30.5%, North […]

  9. Oguine Ifeanacho Odinakachukwu says:

    The bane of this alarming unemployment in Africa rest square on our government ruling us in Africa. The massive looting of national treasury by those who are supposed to guard it is a problem that need to be checked. My question now is who will guard this treasury? Government need to set up a functional or effective body for this and appoint people of impeccable character to lead this organization. This will ensure that government have enough money to provide the social needs of her citizens.

  10. Ndzesop Abas says:

    It’s paradoxal That most African states preach” Free Education” but These are never accompanied by corresponding fight against unemployement which to my views constitudes a major threat to Security and stability of the Continent. Unemployment harmpers Developement in That it constitudes Under exploitation of our Human Resources. Unaccountabity and the establishment Godfatherism as Modus Uperandi in the employement market are some of the generators of unemployment in our societies today.

  11. Queman Jones says:

    Mr. Balogun made a very important point, but head of states in Africa need to impower local farmers with adequate tools and seeds to grow more food and also encourage more internship at various ministries and agencies. On the other hand private institutions should also help by employing more youths.

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