Ngwa Wilson Forbi, director general of the “Integrated Youth Volunteer” Foundation and coordinator of the African Regional Committee for the Youth Employment Decade speaks about the situation of young people and their employment perspectives.
Hello, Wilson. What are the greatest barriers that young Africans must overcome to access the labour market?
The most pressing problem of Africa’s labour market today is the absence of sustained economic growth and the creation of employment opportunities, two essential elements required to reduce poverty and improve the people’s standards of living. Other challenges are the persistent structural deficit of skills due to the disparity between the skills acquired in the educational system and those needed by the labour market, the nature of the new industries that are being set up, the closure of some companies and the short-term employment actions without clear sustainable long-term strategies.
What are the main challenges to start dealing with the youth employment problem?
First of all, education and acquiring skills. The challenges affecting youth unemployment in Africa, within the context of education and the skills young Africans acquire, still require an assessment of the policies that have tried to promote this education and these skills. These challenges also provide a quantitative insight into the education and skills of young people in Africa with a view to achieving Goal 8 of the Sustainable Development Goals. The main conclusion here is that, unless the inequalities in the educational results among young people are addressed, it is unlikely that any actions on the labour market will result in a satisfactory change.
How has the emergence of the YEDIA (Youth Employment Decade in Africa) Committee affected these issues?
The Youth Employment Decade in Africa implies the emergence of programmes designed to create employment, especially for young people in the continent. The purpose of these programmes is to provide an appropriate environment so that the government and the private sector can create jobs and develop the skills and knowledge required to increase youth employment rates.