Think and act for entrepreneurship in Africa

Employment

Conversations with Senegal’s educational ecosystem: the imperatives to employability

Each year, Senegal sees a cohort of 200,000 young people enter the job market, according to official figures from the Ministry of Employment, Vocational Training, Apprenticeship and Integration. Yet, despite…

Each year, Senegal sees a cohort of 200,000 young people enter the job market, according to official figures from the Ministry of Employment, Vocational Training, Apprenticeship and Integration. Yet, despite this abundance of potential manpower, youth unemployment remains a major concern.

This reality raises a crucial question: why this gap between job supply and demand? And why are so many young graduates struggling to find a place in the job market?

In the 21st century, professions have undergone a continuous and growing evolution, requiring graduates not only to have technical qualities, but above all to be able to demonstrate personal and interpersonal skills and attitudes: soft skills.

In this article, we talk to a number of people involved in education, vocational training and entrepreneurship in Senegal, about updating knowledge and the importance of developing soft skills for employability.

 

” The skills young people are trained in are not always adapted to the real needs of the job market. “

The training of young people must be aligned with the real needs of the labor market to ensure an effective transition from education to employment. On the one hand, this gap can be explained by the fact that too much emphasis is placed on the acquisition of theoretical knowledge to the detriment of practical skills. In the short to medium term, this gap can be bridged by hands-on learning in the early years of training, through internships or work-study schemes. Secondly, there is the technological lag: technological advances are constantly modifying skill requirements, and training programs are not updated quickly enough to keep pace with this evolution.

– Florence Diob, Financing Manager, Financing Fund for Vocational and Technical Training

 

”  Developing soft skills as well as hard skills”

The quality of education has improved significantly, at least from a technical point of view, but employability requires learners to develop soft skills as well as hard skills. Communicating effectively, resolving conflicts, managing interpersonal relations… these skills can be acquired through an initial training circuit, but also via continuing and short-term training courses. Working on these aspects enables you to acquire a complete set of skills that are necessary to succeed and assert yourself in a competitive professional world.

– Harouna Thiam, Responsable Formation-Insertion – Ministry of Vocational and Technical Training

 

” Teach and professionalize “

There is a notable difference between teaching, which is the transmission of knowledge and concepts, and professionalizing, which aims to prepare learners for a professional environment by developing practical, applicable skills.

We offer a school-enterprise training program, with two application restaurants and a patisserie, so that students are exposed to a professional environment right from the start of their apprenticeship. Since 2006, we have also set up partnerships with leading hotel establishments to recruit young apprentices. In the near future, we also plan to set up a placement agency for our graduates.

– Sidy Dieme, Director of Institut Les Marmitons[1]

 

” An entrepreneurial school “

The vast majority of training courses teach students how to do a job. We have made it our mission to teach them how to create one. Our actions begin in the first year of the bachelor’s degree, with the inclusion of an entrepreneurial module in the curriculum to complement managerial skills.

The Entrepreneurial School takes place in 3 stages:

  • Year 1: Discovery of entrepreneurship with a project idea for each student;
  • Year 2: Students create a mini-company or scenario for a service;
  • Year 3: Creation of a business plan.

We focus specifically on developing the entrepreneurial skills, business knowledge and aptitudes needed to create, manage and develop a successful business.

– Georges Ndeye, Managing Director, ISM Ziguinchor [2]

 

” Economists must map employment needs ” 

Major labor market trends can be anticipated. Mapping employment needs is crucial to ensuring a better match between supply and demand in the labor market, fostering economic development, reducing unemployment and improving the productivity and competitiveness of workers and companies.

On the other hand, the results of this mapping would enable a greater number of young people to better orient themselves in their choice of academic path, and at the same time prevent a potential skills shortage.

– Mame Pemba Balde, HR Manager CRS West Africa [3]

 

The development of human capital for adaptability and integration skills in a fast-changing job market underlines the importance of rethinking educational strategies. Training programs must now not only motivate students, but also actively prepare them for their future careers by developing their soft skills.

This approach calls for a reassessment of the role of initial training, with the emphasis on boosting self-confidence, individual fulfillment and the development of cross-disciplinary skills through internships and work experience.

En investissant dans le développement des soft skills, en adaptant les programmes éducatifs aux besoins du marché du travail et en favorisant la collaboration entre ces différents acteurs, le Sénégal peut créer un environnement propice à l’épanouissement professionnel de sa jeunesse et à une croissance économique durable.

 


[1] *Les Marmitons est un institut de formation aux métiers de la gastronomie, de l’hôtellerie et du tourisme au Sénégal. En savoir plus

[2] ISM Ziguinchor est un établissement d’enseignement privé installé à Ziguinchor depuis 2005. En savoir plus 

[3] CRS est une organisation humanitaire internationale, dont les objectifs comprennent la fourniture d’aide d’urgence, la promotion du développement économique et social, ainsi que le plaidoyer pour la justice sociale En savoir plus.

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Digitization and professional integration: achieving digital integration in Côte d’Ivoire

The rise of digital technology has revolutionized the way we live, communicate, learn and, of course, work. This transformation is especially significant in Africa, where young people face both unique…

The rise of digital technology has revolutionized the way we live, communicate, learn and, of course, work. This transformation is especially significant in Africa, where young people face both unique challenges and countless opportunities in their quest to enter the job market.

 
To understand these dynamics and the potential implications of digital technology, we met with key players in the African education ecosystem in Côte d’Ivoire. A series of testimonials attesting to the growing importance of digital technology in education, and the need to support this movement.

 

” From helpful to necessary, from necessary to indispensable “

In just a few years, and even more since Covid came on the scene, digital has gone from helpful to necessary, and from necessary to indispensable. Professional integration, access to information, interaction, or simply adapting to contemporary demands mean that the adoption of a digital component in almost all training courses has become absolutely essential.  Today, digital technology enables young people to find their place in this fast-changing world, by facilitating rapid access to information and making learning easier.

Dia Jean-Fabrice – Head of Studies at the Institut Ivoirien of Technologie[1]

 

” Training the trainers ” 

The determination of the continent’s young people to embrace digital technology is obvious. But we still need to find a way to better equip them. Firstly, digital equipment and materials are still difficult to access for most people. Secondly, it is essential to invest in the training of trainers, to ensure that digital skills are properly passed on to young people, and to promote their successful integration into an increasingly digitalized world. Finally, we need to multiply the opportunities for young people to apply the skills they have acquired through internships or work-study schemes.

Jean-Delmas Ehui – CEO of ICT4Dev [2]

 

” A public policy focused on digital technology “

In addition to the difficulties involved in acquiring the necessary equipment and making training programs accessible, one of the barriers to digital development is the delay in implementing public policies in favor of digital, the lack of training for trainers, as well as the absence of incentives for companies to take on young people for practical placements.

Changes are needed to provide equitable access to digital resources and train players in education and industry: Fund the purchase of equipment and adequate infrastructure for institutions; encourage collaborations between educational institutions and digital sector companies to facilitate internships and practical learning opportunities; develop advantageous tax policies for companies investing in training young people and developing digital skills ; set up continuing education programs for teachers and professionals, to stay up to date with the latest technological and pedagogical advances.

Jocelyne Mireille Desquith – Assistant to the General Coordinator of the Government Social Program

 

” Sharing ideas and gaining visibility ” 

Digital is revolutionizing professional career management by offering a range of tools and resources that can be accessed at any time and from any location… as long as your area is covered by the internet network.

Beyond this aspect, digital offers young people a platform to make their voices heard and influence social change. Through social media, young people can share their opinions, experiences and demands with a global audience, helping them to broaden their impact and mobilize support for their causes, or echo the ideas they share.

– Achille Koukou – Managing Director of Tg Master University [3]

 

Digitalization offers immense potential for integrating young people into the African job market. However, concerted efforts are needed to overcome the obstacles and fully exploit these opportunities, in order to create a prosperous and inclusive future for all Africans. By implementing these measures, Africa can realize its full potential in the digital age, and provide its young people with the tools they need to succeed in an ever-changing world.

 


[1] Bilingual French-English institute of higher education dedicated to information and communication technologies, biotechnologies and business management. Read more 

[2] A startup specializing in the development and integration of digital and technological solutions for the agricultural sector. Read more

[3] School of excellence preparing for a double Bachelor’s degree (French and Ivorian) in Digital Management and Business Management. Read more

 

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Youth employment: Africa should not train more, but train better

A couple of numbers are enough to understand how important the challenges related to the employability of young people on the African continent are. Currently, 15-24 year-olds represent 20% of…

A couple of numbers are enough to understand how important the challenges related to the employability of young people on the African continent are.

Currently, 15-24 year-olds represent 20% of the African population, but more than 40% of the unemployed [1]. By 2030, according to UNESCO projections, approximately 100 million young people will enter the African labor market due to the demographic structure of the continent.

Meanwhile, many companies and employers are looking for qualified [2] and therefore employable[3] individuals. There is a mismatch between available training programs and the specifics of the labor market, which is undergoing constant restructuring, in many sectors,.

Therefore, one could ask whether the great challenge today is not to train more, but to train better? Especially in the context of technical and vocational education and training, which obviously have a major role to play in promoting the integration of young people into the workplace.

In this article, we will explore three paths to improvement, based on the experience of an African SME in Côte d’Ivoire which specializes in professional training: the Institut de Management, de Gestion et d’Hôtellerie (IMGH), founded by Augustine Bro in 2009. Between December 2020 and July 2021, IMGH employees (managers, middle-managers, trainers) participated in capacity building training organized by GIZ Côte d’Ivoire.

Pathway 1: negotiate the shift to digitalization

Technical and vocational training courses are the first to have to adapt to globalization and the resulting technological changes, as they are oriented towards practice, learning, and the acquisition of work techniques. The transition to digital technology, which was supposed to be gradual, has been drastically accelerated by the Covid-19 crisis, which has had a major impact on the training sector and has redefined the demands of the labor market.

The prerequisites to successfully negotiate this shift are first of all material. In West Africa, household connectivity is not guaranteed in many rural or isolated areas. In addition to internet coverage issues, there are also the costs of the packages needed to consult the online tools necessary for learning[4]. Finally, the acquisition of computer equipment to access the content of online courses is an additional burden for students.

IMGH Focus:

To overcome these material difficulties, IMGH has put training capsules online which can be consulted via computer and mobile phone. This initiative solved both the impossibility of holding face-to-face classes at the height of the Covid crisis, and the connectivity of learners, insofar as most had at least access to the internet via their smartphones. Financial efforts will still be required to ensure that all students have access to online courses.

Since the start of the Covid crisis, IMGH has adopted a mixed approach, combining face-to-face and distance learning. This format offers many advantages: self-paced learning, customizable content, cost savings, etc. It is also a proven model that will be able to adapt to future crises, whether they are health, economic, or political.

Beyond concerns about equipment and connectivity, the greatest challenge of this transition to digital could be that of the competence of trainers and the transmission of knowledge (theoretical knowledge, but also and above all, know-how – techniques, professional gestures, practice, behaviour,  quality,  values).

Some of these elements, already difficult to transmit in a face-to-face environment, are even more so in distance or hybrid teaching and require much more involvement and pedagogy from the trainers. Hence the need to train trainers and any other person involved in the transmission process beforehand.

Pathway 2: Update trainers’ skills

The quality and relevance of any professional training is directly related to the professional competence of the trainers.

In the case of vocational training, most of the courses offered are taught by teaching teams from the trade. This situation responds to the logic of transmitting techniques specific to each profession, which would otherwise be difficult to share. Nevertheless, this empirical knowledge, acquired thanks to years of experience in the field, tends to become fixed in time. The risk being that once transposed onto the job market, the skills transmitted to students turn out to be obsolete. Consequently, it is essential to constantly renew the skills of trainers.

The training of managers and middle-managers is also an essential aspect to take into account. In the age of digital transformation. The success of a new development strategy depends on the ability of all employees to adopt it. They contribute fully to the internal transformation of the company and thus participate in the process of skills transfer.

IMGH Focus

The GIZ training, which the IMGH team attended, is based on the logic of alternating practice and theory, which allows the knowledge acquired to be updated and transferred directly to the workplace thanks to a point of view and experience from outside the organization.

According to Augustine Bro, founder of IMGH, this training has enabled her entire team to be more aware of the changes taking place in the professional market and to adapt their training offers in the long term.

Pathway 3: Capacity building through the co-development method

Finally, there can be a more collective approach to the new problems linked to the transformation of professions. Updating skills and knowledge to adapt to the demands of the job market is a necessity, and being in contact with other professionals would be an effective way to overcome one’s own shortcomings and acquire new knowledge.

A professional co-development group is a development approach for people who believe they can learn from each other to improve their practice. Individual and group reflection is facilitated through a structured consultation exercise that focuses on issues currently experienced by participant[5].

Thus the co-development method makes it possible to directly approach the practical side of a job, or of a task to be carried out, in a concerted manner. In contrast to a normative approach that only offers a single point of view, co-development, through the plurality of contributions, increases the development perspectives tenfold. This approach encourages everyone to consider a situation from a different and complementary angle, to think much deeper and to adapt new and more productive solutions.

IMGH Focus

“The adoption of the co-development method has brought new life to our organization. A new and very positive dynamic has taken hold and everyone is now voluntarily contributing to it, whether it be in terms of training, management, or governance. For example, those who are more comfortable with computers do not hesitate to give a helping hand to their colleagues in difficulty, and those who are struggling with other issues do not hesitate to ask for advice or help. So far, this method has been nothing but beneficial, both in terms of accounting and the work atmosphere” – Augustine Bro

In summary

The mismatch between existing training programs and the needs of an ever-changing labor market hinders the economic development of African countries. Opportunities exist and are being created, but the continent is still struggling to provide a skilled and employable workforce.

Vocational training actors, such as IMGH in Côte d’Ivoire, need to offer up-to-date and relevant content. We have mentioned here some of the practices implemented by IMGH since the Covid-19 crisis and the GIZ training (digitizing its training offer, strengthening the skills of trainers and teams…), but many other ideas can still be formulated to bring relevant and quality vocational training to African youth!

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[1]  http://www.iiep.unesco.org/fr/en-afrique-la-transformation-de-la-formation-professionnelle-est-en-marche-13763

[2] Jean-Michel SEVERINO, RFI 20/01/19 https://www.rfi.fr/fr/emission/20190121-afrique-manque-emplois-qualifies-investir-formation

[3] En se référant à la définition donnée par l’Organisation internationale du travail (OIT), l’employabilité est « l’aptitude de chacun à trouver et conserver un emploi, à progresser au travail et à s’adapter au changement tout au long de la vie professionnelle »

[4] https://www.entreprenanteafrique.com/les-ecoles-africaines-au-temps-du-covid-19/#_ftn6

[5] Adrien PAYETTE, Claude CHAMPAGNE, PUQ, 1997 ( https://www.puq.ca/catalogue/livres/groupe-codeveloppement-professionnel-573.html )

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The African demographic dividend: how to reach its full potential?

The current dynamics of the African population is unique and will inevitably have a significant influence on the global demographics of the 21st century, and on the development of the…

The current dynamics of the African population is unique and will inevitably have a significant influence on the global demographics of the 21st century, and on the development of the continent. Will Africa follow the lead of Asian countries, whose economic growth was largely due to a particularly high demographic dividend? The potential is immense, but the path(s) to achieve it are still uncertain…

 

An unprecedented population growth

Africa’s population more than tripled in the second half of the 20th century, from 230 to more than 800 million people today. In 2004, the United Nations projected the African population at 2.2 billion by 2100. Less than two decades later, Africa’s demographic trajectory has surprised everyone, including demographers, making these forecasts completely obsolete. The reason is simple: fertility has not declined as expected. The African continent has not followed the trajectory of Asia or Latin America, where the number of children per woman has fallen from an average of 5 to 2.5 between 1970 and today.

According to the most recent forecasts, it is as early as 2050 that the African population will exceed 2 billion people (reaching 2.4 billion to be more precise). This represents more than 42 million additional people each year by 2050, 3.5 million people more per month or 80 per minute. That’s the equivalent of the population of Dakar every month! By the end of the century, the continent will contribute 82% of the total population growth, representing 3.2 billion people out of a total of 3.8 billion.

The changes at work in African demographics are relatively simple. Indeed, since the mid-20th century, public health has improved, leading to both a sharp drop in infant mortality and an increase in life expectancy[1]. At the same time, the average number of children per woman (the total fertility rate) remains the highest in the world. As a result, the continent has the youngest population on the planet, with more than 40% of Africans under 15 years of age.

This demographic boom, with a birth rate four times higher than mortality, may generate concern and uncertainty, especially if poorly managed. However, it should be remembered that population growth is not necessarily a disabling factor in itself, it is even desirable and sought after from an economic point of view.

 

The demographic dividend, a development opportunity…

The continent has not yet achieved the (much awaited) demographic transition, the key to the demographic dividend. This term refers to the economic benefit resulting from a significant increase in the ratio of working-age adults to dependants (children and the elderly). When birth rates fall sharply, the age structure changes in favour of a larger number of working-age adults. The corollary of this process is an acceleration of the economic growth through increased productivity, higher savings for households and a reduction of the cost of basic social services.

If this transition attracts so much attention, it is because economists and development actors have in mind the economic take-off model of the Asian Tigers and Dragons. In a quasi-consensual way, economists identify as a major basis for this economic take-off the achievement of a particularly high demographic dividend, which has ultimately made it possible to reduce poverty and inequality. However, the benefits of this dividend were made possible by significant upstream preparation: substantial investments in physical capital, particularly human capital, strong savings, sound management of the economy, a development policy geared towards exporting industries, etc.

In terms of its demographic dividend, the African continent seems to be following a slightly different trajectory. However, in the light of the Asian experience, what are the current African investment priorities to realize the full potential of the demographic dividend?

 

Africa facing its possible demographic dividend

If we take the case of Europe, the demographic transition occurred more than a century ago. During this period, the population was able to adapt socially and economically in response to reduced mortality and fertility (Reher, 2011). Thus, with the decline in infant mortality, families’ investment in their children’s health and education and women’s participation in the labour market have increased. As for Asia and Latin America, they have experienced a fast transition rate due to the use of more advanced technologies such as vaccines, antibiotics and modern contraceptive methods from the beginning of their transitions. For example, it is estimated that the demographic dividend experienced by East Asian countries accounted for more than 20% of economic growth between 1960 and 1980 (Bloom and Williamson 1998, Bloom et al. 2000). This Asian demographic dividend largely explains the difference in development between many East Asian and African countries. In East Asia, the cumulative effects of a rapid decline in fertility and an increase in the labour force relative to children and dependent adults led to a recovery in economic productivity between the 1970s and 2000 (Bloom et al., 2003; Eastwood and Lipton, 2012). This has been possible above all because these countries benefited from strong political leadership and clear development plans, by investing massively in quality education and young people’s readiness for employability, Foreign Direct Investment’s attractiveness, and extending access to family planning services.

Africa could follow the same path. It is now in a historical demographic configuration that could enable it to benefit from its dividend. But this change in the age structure, as a result of the demographic transition, is a necessary but not sufficient condition for achieving the demographic dividend. Thus, it is crucial to make prior investments in education, health, family planning, urbanization, and the private sector, especially SMEs and governance. These investments must be made before the transition to an economically favourable age structure in order to benefit from the demographic dividend. These factors help to explain, for example, why Niger’s population is growing at a rate of 3% per year, while Botswana’s is growing at a rate of 1% per year. At the same time, the continent is threatened by a relatively short period of anticipated investment in these countries. This could prevent these important demographic changes from being fully exploited in a stable and sustainable manner (Reher 2011). These priority reforms and investments are already beginning to resemble emergencies.

 

The challenges of fertility and family planning

The control of African demography is still lacking financial and human resources due to weak political commitment, lack of data and insufficient research in this field. Furthermore, fertility and family planning issues have rarely been given priority in the past 30 years, coming second only to major public health emergencies: HIV/AIDS prevention, pregnancy management, obstetric and neonatal interventions, cholera and Ebola epidemics, etc.

As a result, many Sub-Saharan African countries are still in the early stages of their demographic transition. Yet, in order to achieve sustained and sustainable growth that improves people’s well-being, it is essential to reduce fertility levels[2] today in order to accelerate demographic transition and reduce the dependency ratio. This transition is slower than in other developing regions. Although economic growth rates have been rapid and robust in recent decades, fertility levels continue to create a risk of unpredictability in the continent’s long-term development dynamics. This fertility decline is a complex process that can only be made possible at the family level through women’s access to information and voluntary use of modern contraceptive methods to meet their family planning needs. The information component is therefore an essential part of the process. About 25% of women in developing countries have unmet family planning needs, i.e. they want to avoid pregnancy, but do not have access to or use modern contraceptive methods (Darroch et al 2011, WHO and UNICEF, 2012). It should also be noted that the choice of spacing or limiting births depends directly on several factors, including the health and survival of existing children, knowledge of the health benefits of spacing births, the value of investing in the education of existing children, the opportunity cost for women to have additional children, etc.

Policies and programmes in the health and education sectors should be strengthened to help reduce the target size of the family. For the level of women’s education, their participation in the formal labour market and children’s health are negatively correlated with the desired fertility level. In addition, limited access to appropriate facilities and modern contraceptive methods, as well as the sometimes poor quality of counselling, are largely responsible for the failures observed (WHO, 2015). This reflects a real need to improve access and quality of family planning facilities in an effort to increase the voluntary use of modern contraceptive methods, which will lead to a more rapid decline in fertility in all countries. In West Africa, for example, there is always one inactive person for every working person, i.e. the dependency ratio is 100%. An increase from 4 to 5 times the current resources dedicated to family planning would allow countries to halve their level of dependency in twenty years’ time (Guengant, 2015).

 

Employment, a key issue

Sub-Saharan Africa has the youngest population in the world. The under-25s represent 67% of the population and the 15-24 age group alone represents 1/5 of the world’s youth population. More and more of them are migrating to urban areas due to deteriorating living conditions in rural areas (World Bank, 2015). But no matter where they come from or where they go, this young population has high expectations. Despite many efforts, job creation, especially for young people, in most African countries remains totally disconnected from population growth. And while this labour force is the continent’s most important competitive advantage, unfortunately three out of five of the unemployed are young people (ILO, 2017). Even the most skilled young people find themselves in low-paying jobs…when they can find them. This high level of unemployment represents a real shortfall and severely limits the potential for a demographic dividend. Worse still, this youth could represent a real threat to the stability of the continent because under-educated and unemployed young people are more exposed to illegal activities and in the grip of armed conflict and terrorism. This structural unemployment of young people is largely due to a mismatch between training, skills offered and employer requirements, a predominantly informal and insufficiently promoted entrepreneurship, a significant digital and technological divide, acute difficulties in accessing capital and the scourge of corruption.

Decision-makers must define educational programmes in the light of today’s and tomorrow’s jobs, in close consultation with private sector actors. In this respect, it is essential that school and academic training be rethought if we are to produce skills that meet employers’ expectations. This goes hand in hand with the integration of low-skilled young people into professional programmes. For most graduates, obtaining their first work experience is the most difficult step. To remedy this, incentives could be provided to companies that encourage, for example, internships, apprenticeships, etc.

Entrepreneurship is also a way forward. Historically, African states have considered entrepreneurship and innovation as a marginal component of the economy, as evidenced by the absence of a dedicated ministry in most countries. Obviously, in a context of scarce formal employment, coupled with a rapidly growing population of young people, the latter are more encouraged or even forced to show entrepreneurial ingenuity to earn a living. They are everywhere in African cities, trying to sell everything from phone cards to tissues, water bottles and handcraft products. Inside each neighbourhood, women run sewing or hairdressing workshops… while young men wash vehicles, carve wood or repair flat tires. In lively markets, they sell locally grown fruits and vegetables, imported second-hand clothing, mobile phones or household products. On the main arteries of cities or in the hinterland, they fill potholes on the roads or regulate traffic in exchange for a possible financial generosity from motorists. Although this entrepreneurship is very small and largely informal, it is the primary source of livelihood for young Africans (Welter, 2017). In this respect, the entrepreneurial question must be at the heart of public policy making. This includes a favourable regulatory framework and a simplification of business creation, a facilitated access to finance, the creation of incubators and accelerators, the allocation of investment grants, the promotion of entrepreneurship and initiative spirit, the support to research institutes, etc. It should be noted that these initiatives may not be effective if they are implemented in an uncoordinated and isolated manner.

It should also be noted that agriculture and SMEs are central to this reflection. The agricultural sector is the main source of employment on the continent (60% of the working population) and has the extraordinary potential to be a viable investment sector for young people if it is made attractive. This sector could thus make its transition from subsistence to commercial agriculture. As for SMEs, they constitute the backbone of African economies with nearly 90% of the entrepreneurial fabric and about 80% of jobs. The success of these companies is a prerequisite for the employment of young people. But they remain chronically confronted with a credit rationing that limits their growth and generally leads to dead-end entrepreneurial adventures. Consequently, conditions must be created to diversify financing options. These options are many and varied: microfinance, business angels, traditional bank loans, leasing, capital investment and in particular impact investment that prioritizes companies with high social and environmental added value, crowdfunding, equity loans, etc.

 

Conclusion

There is no doubt that today Africa is at a crucial turning point to benefit from the full potential of its demographic dividend. We are almost at the critical moment, when the working-age population will be at its peak. For the African continent to benefit from this demographic dividend, the measures to be implemented as a matter of priority (or even urgency) are numerous, in order to have a well-trained and healthy working age population in the medium term:
The creation of a political and economic environment conducive to long-term investment
Young people must be at the heart of public policy and development strategies
Investments in education, health, family planning, women’s empowerment, skills development, innovation
Facilitating access to finance, promoting youth employment, supporting the private sector in particular, entrepreneurship and the fabric of SMEs

The size of the dividend will depend on the pace of the demographic transition and public policies. It cannot be total and live up to expectations unless these reforms and prior investments are made. This is a duty of lucidity that seems essential if the African continent is to meet the aspirations of its young population and ensure its demographic dividend.

 


Notes

[1] The 12 million Africans born in 1955 could only hope to live to 37 years old, while the 30 million Africans born last year can hope to live to over 60 years old.

[2] The fertility level remains the highest in the world, with an average of more than 5 children per woman (UN population).

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The digital revolution in Sub-Saharan Africa: What perspectives for employment?

The recent economic literature questions the impact of the third industrial revolution – characterized by the penetration of computers, the Internet and mobile telephony – on labour productivity and employment….

The recent economic literature questions the impact of the third industrial revolution – characterized by the penetration of computers, the Internet and mobile telephony – on labour productivity and employment. Based on this literature, this note provides an overview of the digital revolution prospects for in terms of job creation in sub-Saharan Africa.

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