Africa can only fulfil the ambitions and goals of its population if 20 million jobs are created each year up to 2035. But this is merely the amount of jobs in demand for those newly entering the labour market. The complex task to be tackled varies from country to country, and it incorporates heterogeneous preconditions. This is more or less the conclusion drawn in a survey by the German Development Institute (gdi) on the job situation in Africa that was commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and discussed with experts on Africa in Bonn, Germany, in September in the presence of Gerd Müller, the Federal Development Minister.
Müller maintains that the creation of 20 million new jobs in Africa is possible, although it is up to Europe and Africa to do more to achieve this. “Africa would have to invest more in people, realise the rule of law in its countries, promote business and combat corruption. Europe for its part would have to end exploitation, implement fair trade, support investment and see to it that more value is created in our neighbouring continent,” the Minister wrote in a press release issued for the meeting of experts.
The gdi’s Tilman Altenburg was rather more critical when he presented the survey. In Southeast Asia, for example, structural transformation had already taken place that had shifted labour from the subsistence economy and micro-trade to diversifying jobs in industry and the services sector. So far, this structural transformation had not taken place in Africa.
Altenburg nevertheless believes that the problem can be solved if the economy improves the framework conditions and promotes certain economic sectors, smallholder productivity is enhanced and countries in Africa run public-financed employment programmes.
Roland Krieg, Bonn, Germany
Link to the German Development Institute survey “Arbeitsplatzoffensive für Afrika”