The increase in the level of youth unemployment in africa and across the world, is not only worrisome but pathetic. The global unemployment rate among 15- to 24-year-olds was estimated at 12.6% in 2013, with 73 million people jobless worldwide, according to the International Labour Organization. Levels of informal employment among young people are soaring and youth are finding it ever more difficult to find jobs that match their skills and education. Research has it that the more jobless youth we have in the society, the greater the crime tendencies and criminal activities. In the last couple of years, West African countries have witnessed various degree of insurgencies. Interestingly, these insurgents are being masterminded and spearheaded mostly by disgruntled unemployed young adults who have finally resigned to their fates of being unable to secure a decent means of livelihood therefore becoming social misfit is nothing but an option and resorted to gun running activities, drug and narcotic business as well as kidnapping and abduction, militancy and insurgents and other political violent crimes. Correct me if I’m wrong, none of these guys really love to be involved in criminality and shady activities but opted for it out of frustration, although still not justifiable enough. Recently, a young man in his early 30s was arrested at the Lagos International Airport about to board a flight to Brazil. This guy had injected closed to 2killograms of substance identified to be cocaine in his tummy. When he was interrogated, he pleaded and said he did it out of desperation to raise some money to help his mother and his pregnant wife. who would deliver in a matter of month or thereabout. He had gone to school armed with degree from one of universities in the eastern part of the country, but all his effort to secure a job were fruitless. Now, what would become of him, after he has been caught by law enforcement agency? Definitely, his future plans and that of his unborn child has been truncated. There is no way he would be off the hook without facing wrath of the law. Not even now that Nigerian Government is working on zero tolerance for drugs and other related offences. He would bag nothing less than 10 to 15 years jail term. By then his unborn child would have to become another criminal. That is what happens to citizens when there are no structure in place for youth empowerment, social security and grants. On my own, I started ruminating on how this guy could escape the punishment despite the fact he had gotten necessary qualifications to get job yet he became a prisoner overnight and victim of circumstances. So many young adults like him with bright future have out of frustration ventured into illegal activities and caught, made to face the music. Couples of days back, I read it online that Members of the Global Agenda Council on Youth Unemployment are urging leaders to move from discussing the issues to implementing solutions. It is clear that a collective approach is needed to address the systemic nature of the challenge, particularly at the country level. Long- term strategies to better align educational systems with labour market requirements and efforts to promote entrepreneurship are sorely needed.
What the Council is doing about it
The Council is launching a campaign to promote bold, collective and cross-industry efforts to face the challenges in this area. The campaign provides a radical new “rules of engagement” framework alongside a “menu of options” that can be tailored and scaled worldwide to maximize impact and sustain results. It has produced an infographic to familiarize decision-makers and the public with the cause of the problem, its severity and potential solutions.
In collaboration with the Global Agenda Council on Emerging Multinationals, the Council has generated knowledge of the value, models and adoption of apprenticeships and workplace mentoring. By defining successful protocols, creating implementation tools and engaging a select number of employers in programme validation, the TEN Youth programme represents an effective and scalable solution for employers to support first-time job seekers.
The goal of connecting young entrepreneurs to markets is highlighted by the Council’s support of the World Series of Innovation and the YouthTrade Movement. Working with the Global Agenda Council on Africa, StartUp Africa is a programme designed to develop entrepreneurial thinking in a large number of African youth. Through a series of competitions, it awards the best and the brightest with increasing levels of financial support, mentors and business services to help them bring their ideas to life. I Love Naija