Africa’s jobless rate almost double the world average

Africa’s jobless rate almost double the world average
Van Blerk (2007-04-24) Geneva – Africa’s unemployment rate was nearly twice that of the rest of the world despite several years of rapid economic growth, according to the UN’s Decent Work Agenda in Africa report released today. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) said African economies needed to create 2 million more jobs every year for the unemployment rate of 10.3 percent to fall to the global average of 6.3 percent by 2015, when the UN’s millennium development goals on reducing poverty come due. The continent’s economic output rose 5.4 percent in 2005 and last year. It was expected to increase another 5.9 percent this year, according to International Monetary Fund figures quoted by the ILO. But employment had lagged, especially among those under the age of 25 whose jobless rate was 20 percent, the report found. “In Africa, young people [are] three times more likely to be unemployed than adults,” said the report, which will be discussed by political and economic officials this week in Addis Ababa. The ILO called the pervasive youth unemployment “an economic and social waste and a sociopolitical risk” for the continent. The number of people worldwide living on less than $1 (R7) a day declined by a quarter between 1981 and 2001, but nearly doubled to 314 million in sub-Saharan Africa in the same period. This was partly as a result of the HIV/Aids epidemic, a series of floods, droughts and civil wars. Agriculture accounted for two-thirds of employment in sub-Saharan Africa, and many farm workers had low and unstable incomes, said the ILO. The majority of African women were engaged in rural subsistence work, and nearly 50 million children aged between five and 14 were thought to be active in the continent’s workforce. Kick-starting job creation would require steps to reduce the time, cost and complexity of registering a businesses, and ensure that property rights and contracts were better enforced. Other constraints to employment growth included bureaucratic obstacles to international trade, difficulties in accessing credit and erratic tax regimes for entrepreneurs, the ILO found.