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Youth unemployment in Africa

It is a real time bomb the bursting of which seems imminent, and one may fear that the shock wave could exceed the continent. The African Bank Development Group estimates that 10 to 12 million young Africans enter the labor market each year, while only 3 million formal jobs are created. The difference is frightening: no other choice for those who stay on the side of the road but to turn to the informal market. Here again, the statistics produced by the ILO on the size of the informal market are turning heads. Where the Mangrove Foundation is active, we note that in Senegal, it represents 91.2%, in Mali: 92.7%, as well as in Togo, and in the DRC: 91.9%. This means that these jobs are not subject to any national legislation, nor subject to any income tax or social protection, and essentially consist of small jobs, meaning underemployment and precariousness, even for young graduates reduced to cleaning floors in hotels, selling small goods on the sly, or simply contribute to family activities. One might think that formal employment would be the solution, but this is not the case. According to the ILO, up to 82% of African workers are working poor, and according to the African Economic Outlook, more than 70 per cent of Africa's young people live on less than $ 2 a day.

Demographic change reinforces if need be this feeling of anxiety. The population of the continent will have doubled in 2050 to reach 2.5 billion inhabitants (they were less than 260 million at the time of independences). It is useless to make here a list of the programs launched by the African governments, which succeed each other over the years without anything fundamentally changing, and the prospect of seeing Africa become a new economic eldorado seems therefore quite illusory.

Once again, the Mangrove Foundation brings its contribution within each of its programs: the "income-generating activities" component aims to reduce the rural exodus. And the emancipation and education of women is the best vehicle for a decline in fertility, especially in a continent where religious and traditional brakes undermine any policy of birth control.

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