Provide skills to meet 21st century labor market needs

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Provide young people with new skills that will meet the needs of a 21st-century labour market, African Development Bank report urges.

African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina said the youth must be prepared for the jobs of the future not the jobs of the past.

“Given the fast pace of change, driven by the 4th industrial revolution – from artificial intelligence to robotics, machine learning, quantum computing – Africa must invest more in re-directing and re-skilling its labour force, and especially the youth, to effectively participate,” the Bank president said.

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According to the African Economic Outlook report, two-thirds of Africa’s youth are either overeducated or undereducated.

Youth unemployment is rising annually with 12 million graduates entering the labour market each year and only 3 million of them getting jobs therefore, youth unemployment must be given top priority.

The African Economic Outlook report indicates that the mismatch of skill and education affect youth labour productivity indirectly through job satisfaction, wages and job searching. Overeducated African youth on average earn, 18 per cent less than the ones with the same level of education working in jobs that match their education.
Youth who believe they are over skilled for jobs are 3.4 per cent less likely to be satisfied with current jobs and maybe less productive.

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The report contains several recommendations for negative trends reversal and creating adequate and productive workforces. These include designing national strategies for education and skills development that include school dropouts, young people, workers in the informal economy and in economically and socially disadvantaged groups.

“African countries can achieve universal primary enrollment by just improving the efficiency of education spending. Investing in education and infrastructure offers a greater growth payoff than investing exclusively in either,” said Hanan Morsy, the Bank’s Director of Macroeconomic Policy, Forecasting and Research.

Through its support to scientific centres of excellence, such as the African University of Science and Technology the African Development Bank is helping address Africa’s skills gap.

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