Unemployment in Africa remains a major challenge for many economies and must be a partnership between governments and the private sector to address it, particularly amongst the youth.
From World Bank’s statistics, Africa has the largest youth bulge in the world, and the number of youth is expected to grow by 42.5 million between 2010 and 2020.
Knight Ganje, a Botswana entrepreneur says there is need to encourage entrepreneurs to do more research and reading. As an entrepreneur, he says one should always be longing for business.
Ganje who was amongst the invited youth entrepreneurs to the recent job creation summit in New York, United States themed ‘A call to invest: investing in jobs for young people in Africa’ says, “African entrepreneurs should start working and trading together. There is also need to educate entrepreneurs and be able to create our own solutions and partner with companies that are doing well for our own growth.”
His further submission is that job creation for young people is a defining development challenge for the current era. Between now and 2035, African nations need to create 18million new jobs every year just to keep pace with the rapidly growing population. Creating high quality jobs at this scale is in the world’s interest, but requires bold new thinking and partnerships.
The youthful entrepreneur’s observations are that, “the investment opportunity across Africa is huge: the continent is young, vibrant and home to two of the top five fastest growing economies in the world. It is in our shared interest to harness this growth using the power of business and investment to the benefit of the global economy”
For Botswana entrepreneurs, Ganje advises that they should set off their mindset that Botswana with a very little population of 2million has a small market and is saturated. He encouraged them to start with what they have, be passionate, have manpower and meet the demand at home to reduce import the bill. They must also be outward looking than inward. He adds,” Being a small market is just a myth. In every industry the demand is always there. Botswana is one of the top places to do business in Africa, as it has the best policies compared to other African jurisdictions where the processes are cumbersome. They must be entrepreneurs that see negatives but see opportunities that Botswana and the rest of Africa can offer.”
According to Ganje, who is also an ambassador for the Tony Elumelu Foundation, the largest African philanthropic initiative devoted to entrepreneurship; agriculture should be the focus to create more jobs. The potential is endless and the youth must get themselves into the supply chain, he says.
At the New York proceedings, where the forum was graced by some of the African leaders, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, and President Akufo-Addo of Ghana, Theresa May Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; said Africa stands on the cusp of playing a transformative role in the global economy.
She told the forum that, during her first visit to Africa last month, she said, “I saw a continent full of potential. One with a young population that is eager to embrace the opportunities of the 21st century and ready to play part in tackling the challenge we all face. To keep pace with its growing population, Africa will need to create 18million new jobs every year between now and 2035.”
While in South Africa, May announced plans for 4billion British pounds of new UK government investment in African economies that will pave way for atleast another 4billion pound of private sector financing.
Africa’s potential will only be realized if African economies put the investment on the generation of today.
Creating these jobs will not only be important for Africa’s future, but in an interconnected world where it will drive new markets, new trade and investment opportunities and greater global stability.