Who is really to blame for the unemployment in Africa?

Unemployment has always been one of Africa’s biggest problems. The freedom from this unfortunate reality, is one of the victories that have eluded Africa for decades.

But the question is whose fault is it? Is it the government, the financial institutions, the learning institutions, the educated class, the general population?

In maneuvering this question, it is important we establish the role of every stakeholder in Africa in the fight against unemployment.

Let’s start with the government.

One of the most obvious roles for the government in fighting unemployment, is creating a suitable political and economic environment for both local and foreign investment. Politically, this involves creating a safe environment for business through fighting crime and ensuring political stability. Another way is through legislation, concerned with the business in question. On the economic front, in addition to tax benefits and incentives, the government, through the central bank could undertake an expansionary monetary policy during a recession, to influence favorable interest rates for businesses to borrow and hire more workers or buy more equipment.

The governments could also increase expenditure on government projects to create more jobs. This is called expansion of fiscal policy.

Moving on to the financial institutions, especially banks. The main way through which they could fight unemployment, is through availing loans to businesses, on favorable terms. Among others, favorable terms include affordable interest rates.  This is a strategy that could increase local investment and encourage entrepreneurship in Africa, which with the creation of jobs, is pivotal in the fight against unemployment.

The institutions of higher learning, including high schools have a great role to play in this fight. It goes further than just teaching students about Biology and History in classes. Financial literacy is one branch of education that is ignored in Africa’s educational institutions. It is more focused on the grading system than on the creative, innovative and financial minds of the students. The role of the system should be to educate and groom not just job seekers, but more job creators.

This partly covers the role of the educated class. Those that have had the privilege of acquiring top tier education and going to college or university should be held more accountable. The educated class should not be painted as the victims of unemployment. They play a big part in this unfortunate reality. The supply for labour by far exceeds its demand. Tens of thousands graduate every year, but only a handful get jobs, and even fewer realize that they can actually use their knowledge to solve the problems of the modern times. Where would Africa be, if just half of the job seekers were job creators, Entrepreneurs, who create jobs for others? In Africa and all over the world, there are high school dropouts, college dropouts even primary school dropouts who defied the odds to create opportunities through businesses that have served to employ tens, hundreds and even thousands of people directly and indirectly.  What excuse does the educated class have?

To the general population of this beautiful continent. Where do we fall? Are you part of the educated class? Are you a government official? Are you a banker? Are you a teacher? Are you an entrepreneur or investor? And most importantly, are you playing your part in fighting unemployment in Africa?

Conclusively, I choose to end this article the same way I started it, who is to blame for the unemployment in Africa?

By Kawooya David Frederick

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