FSM 2015
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African leaders have failed for young people employment on the continent

African leaders have failed for young people employment on the continent, that’s according to director of operations of the Unemployed Graduates Association of Ghana (UGAG).

Desmond Biney has criticized leaders on the continent for failing to provide employment for the teeming number of graduates who come out of tertiary institutions across the continent without jobs.  In an interview with Flamme d’Afrique’s correspondent in Ghana, Mr. Biney said African leaders have not taken advantages of the many natural resources available in Africa to create jobs for young Africans.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, with one being the lowest, I will probably rank them number 3, because our leaders have not done enough to make graduate unemployment a thing of the past. They have simply not been up to the task”, he remarked.

A major challenge for Africa is creating enough jobs for its growing population. A recent World Bank report estimates that as many as 11 million young people in Sub-Saharan Africa will be joining the job market every year for the next decade, and the risks associated with growing numbers of urban youth without meaningful occupation are high.

According to the 2014 edition of the British Council’s “Going Global” in Nigeria the unemployment rate is as high as 23.1 per cent for those with undergraduate degrees. Although the rate for university graduates is much lower in South Africa (5.9 per cent 12), it is high for those with diploma or certificate level qualifications. Unemployment figures specifically for university graduates are not available in Ghana and Kenya. However, across the 25–29 age group as a whole (the range corresponding most closely with recent graduates) the unemployment rate is 41.6 per cent in Ghana and 15.7 per cent in Kenya where it takes a university graduate about 5 years to secure a job.

Mr. Biney believes that the exponential rise in the number of graduates who cannot find jobs could increase insecurity due to tensions among unemployed graduates who are usually frustrated due to their inability to secure jobs adding that “graduate unemployment could be a catalyst to civil unrest in any part of Africa”

Desmond Biney also urged unemployed graduates in Ghana and other parts of Africa to come together in unity to mount pressure on leaders of the continent to deal with the dangerous canker of unemployment. “If unemployed graduates can unite as one and demand accountability from leaders, then we will see a reduction in the number of young people who remain unemployed after their studies”, he added.

His comments come in the lead up to the 2015 World Social Forum to be held between March 24 and 28 in Tunisia. The forum provides the space for social movements and other civil society organizations around the globe to pursue thinking and debate ideas, one of which is the surge in youth unemployment.

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