African youth and their future in the job market

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With the increasing technological advancements, there is no doubt that many jobs would be taken by machines in the future. In fact, this has manifested itself already as we have seen computers doing jobs that were once performed by people.

This disadvantage of the technological advancement is a threat to the whole world and Africa stands to suffer, most especially, the continent’s young people. In fact, Africans are suffering already with the current trend. The unavailability of jobs, skills and knowledge and the inability of African governments to cater for their youthful population are some of the problems. To prepare for this foreseen problem that would be caused by technological advancement, Africa needs to do the following:

Firstly, African governments have to invest heavily on developing the innovative skills of its youth. Many African countries have not done enough to develop skills in the area of science and technology. This has resulted in the continent largely dependent on the importation of technological products like radios, mobile phones, computers, cars, combine harvesters etc. If Africans invests in youth to learn how to make some of this equipment, that can help them secure jobs in the future.

Secondly, African governments must embark on massive industrialization. Lack of industries in Africa is one of the biggest reasons for lack of jobs, to countries losing young people and its raw materials to other continents. Africa has to therefore redirect their focus on the creation of industries to massively create jobs for its youths.

In my country, Sierra Leone, people do different things in small scale and there has been an outcry for industrialization, but nothing has been done. I remember a local shoe manufacturer saying he could manufacture boots for the entire security forces in the country if he is supported, but nothing has been done to date. With government support, the local shoe manufacturer would not only be able to manufacture such a huge number of boots, but he would also be able to employ thousands of youths in the country, paving the way to increase youth employment.  There are many other case studies in the areas of fashion, agriculture, mining, marine etc.

Moreover, the need for corresponding legislation cannot be over emphasized. There should be laws or policies that would make innovation, industrialization and the creation of jobs a must by all governments. Many governments have not shown commitment in these areas because it is not legally binding on them. African leaders must be taken to task for not providing certain amount of jobs in their tenure of office.

In conclusion, Africa, especially my country Sierra Leone has the potential of making itself self-sufficient. It can create jobs to a point that    it has to hire workers outside. The points I have mentioned above are achievable and can help salvage the pending job catastrophe the advancement of technology stands to cause.

Tholoma Sumah, a Sierra Leonean national, is a winner of the World Bank Africa 2019 Blog4Dev regional competition.

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