Rabat, 27 May 2021 - The Economic Commission for Africa and NKC African Economics (an Oxford Economics company) held on Wednesday 26 May, 2021 a joint webinar under the theme “Best Practices in Job Creation, lessons from Africa.” The meeting aimed to collect African experts’ comments and feedback to help finalize an upcoming, joint ECA – NKC African Economics report on the same topic.
The goal of the report is to look at how best to facilitate job creation as the region’s economy initiate its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID-19 has led to Africa’s first recession in 25 years, and the loss of over 30 million jobs. As the region’s economy is starting to pick up, with a 3.7% GDP growth projected by end of 2021, we are looking at how best practice can help boost job creation in the difficult, current context”, said Khaled Hussein, Director a.i of the ECA Office for North Africa at the start of the meeting.
“In many African countries, vulnerable employment is significantly higher than the global average. In addition, medium term prospects are not encouraging as several countries recorded weak growth even prior to the COVID-19 crisis”, said Cobus de Hart, Head of Macroeconomic Consulting at NKC African Economics, who explained that the report analyses 34 employment initiatives carried out in 15 African countries, with the aim of identifying which factors successful initiatives have in common.
While the study warns that successful job creation initiatives cannot be replicated from one African country to another without being adapted to the national contexts, it has also revealed a number of approaches and areas of focus that tend to be more successful and which could therefore be considered as best practice in employment creation. These successful approaches and areas of focus include, for example, partnerships, and especially public-private partnerships, skills development, youth employment, investment promotion and improved access to credit and finance.
In addition to these areas, participants called for additional research on the impact of COVID-19 on job creation in Africa and stressed the importance of leveraging the private sector’s funding and know-how, improving access to credit and finance, and increasing resilience through training, retraining and the development of soft skills.
Africa presently has the world’s largest youth population, with more than 70% of its population aged under 35 and some of the highest unemployment rates in the world. Almost half of the African countries are facing an unemployment rate above 10%; and one in three is facing an unemployment rate higher than 20% against only 1 in 13 countries for the rest of the world.
Hence the need for “Lessons from Africa for Africa, the cross fertilization of experiences between African countries and the use of suitable policies to facilitate fairly distributed growth and job creation for potential workers in order to convert Africa’s youth bulge into a demographic dividend rather than a demographic disaster”, concluded Amal Elbeshbishi, head of the employment section at the ECA office for North Africa.
Economic Commission for Africa
Office for North Africa
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