Platform to track youth employment in Africa launched

Sixty per cent of Kenya’s youth population is employed, with 11.63 million young Kenyans working. Another 89 per cent, or 10.37 million, work in the informal sector. [iStockphoto]

Africa will need to find jobs to keep an estimated 27 million young Africans gainfully employed by 2030, according to the World Data Lab (WDL), a data firm, which produces credible estimates for spending and demography. 

This means that the Africa Youth Employment Clock, a dynamic first-of-its-kind digital tool that projects real-time youth employment trends in Africa will be key for policy-driven decision-making. 

Launched in partnership with the MasterCard Foundation and present in 54 African states with sub-data for Kenya and Rwanda, the Clock monitors job growth broken down using key variables such as employment status, age, gender, and sector up to 2030.

Over time, access to sub-national data will expand to include Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Senegal, and Ethiopia, where the MasterCard Foundation supports country-based programmes.

According to WDL Chief Executive Dr Wolfgang Fengler, Africa will experience its highest-ever youth population growth between 2021 to 2030, with the population expected to increase by almost 100 million between 2023 and 2030.

“We believe in the power of youth employment data in Africa – offering the basis for more informed decision-making. The Clock will allow governments, the private sector, and young people, to have access to more nuanced data on the concrete youth employment questions they have,” said Dr Fengler.

With the global youth population growth rate currently at 2.4 per cent through to 2030, Africa’s average growth rate is significantly higher, at 18.5 per cent. This poses a challenge as an estimated 23 million (4.5 per cent) of young Africans are currently unemployed.

In 2023, 128 million (25 per cent) youth were estimated to be NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training), and this number is estimated to grow to 157 million (26 per cent) by 2030.

It is therefore imperative to enable access to dignified and fulfilling work for Africa’s youth to harness this economic growth resulting from the shifts in the population’s age structure and drive Africa’s economic growth.

Closer home, Kenya’s youth population is estimated at 19.5 million and is expected to grow by 16 per cent to 22.7 million by 2030.

Sixty per cent of Kenya’s youth population is employed, with 11.63 million young Kenyans working. Another 89 per cent, or 10.37 million, work in the informal sector.

In comparison, 52 per cent of employed Kenyan youth work in services, and 89 per cent of jobs created for youth between 2020 and 2023 were in services.

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