Vacancies available

By Hardi Yakubu

We are all now aware of the persistent unemployment problem in Africa. The continent has the most youthful population in the world; over 60% of the population is below 25 years. Unfortunately, these young people can hardly find jobs. It is estimated that 17 million young people will enter the labour market every year in Africa South of the Sahara over the next decade, without a commensurate number of jobs being created. In fact, with current employment growth trends, less than half will be absorbed into non-agricultural work. This problem is worse among educated young people (ILO, 2012). It appears that the more educated one is, the less likely it is to find a job.

Some people complete school and wait for many years before finding a job. They roam from company to company asking for job opportunities and they get a similar response everywhere – “there is no vacancy”.

But there is one sector in Africa that never runs out of vacancies, which is agriculture. There are unlimited vacancies in the agriculture sector. This is intriguing because the agriculture sector already employs a huge chunk of Africa’s labour force. For this reason, many argue that we do not need more people in the sector. What we need, they argue, is to empower the people already working in the sector to raise their productivity. But increasing productivity is precisely why the youth should be involved in agriculture. The average age of farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa is 60 years. Manpower on the farm, ability to adopt new technologies and methods are definitely going to be low because of this. Youth therefore provide a peculiar boost and dynamism, which is needed in African agriculture now more than ever before.

The recently launched African Transformation Report 2017 details opportunities available in the agriculture sector ranging from on-farm activities to off-farm agribusiness including processing of farm produce, manufacturing of simple farm tools and marketing of agriculture products.

To solve the unemployment problem therefore, it makes sense to focus on agriculture. The question is why are the youth not interested in this sector? Again, the African Transformation Report presents interesting findings. It is clear however that if those who are looking for jobs will submit their job application letters to agriculture, they will not be turned away.

Hardi Yakubu is Communications Officer at the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET). The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the official views of ACET.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar Suale Yakubu says:

    We shall rise up and say no to the increasing rate of youth unemployment in Africa one day.

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