Need for Employability Skills for African Youth:
“Employability Skills can be defined as the transferable skills needed by an individual to make them ’employable’.” The future economic growth of any nation is determined by the potential skills of its youth, and not by its capital or material resources. In Africa, the number of highly qualified, skilled yet unemployed youth is increasing to one of the greatest populations in the world. “The current trend indicates that this figure will double by 2045”, according to the 2012 African Economic Outlook report prepared by experts from the African Development Bank (AfDB), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the industrialized countries’ Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), among others. The Youth accounts for 60% of all Africans that are unemployed, according to the World Bank. In North Africa, the youth unemployment rate is 30% which is even worse in Botswana, the Republic of the Congo, Senegal, South Africa and several other countries. South Africa has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world (29.8 percent) approximating to roughly 4.5 million unemployed people, of whom the majorities are young people (Census 2011). According to the African Economic Outlook, “on average, more than 70% of Africa’s youth live on less than US $2 per day, the internationally defined poverty threshold.” Despite the complex and unclear relationship between education and employment, post-basic education in employment skills development programs have been identified as potential solutions for the African youth that is facing employability challenges. If youth skills are accessed with the purpose of empowerment, the youth would be able discover new domains while getting employment.
Impact of Employability Skills in African Youth:
They are extremely important as jobs today require individuals to undertake multiple tasks at once and these skills develop broader range of job-specific competencies in individuals. Education and skills can open doors for economically and socially rewarding jobs and can seek growth for small-scale unofficial enterprise. With the establishment of various government entities and SETAs, the opportunities of youth employability have been improved through their skills development process.Youth employment challenges will be handled and economic growth will be promoted through the construction of these skills. Thus, it is imperative to teach youth employability skills in order for them to sustain and progress in an information economy and thus eradicate unemployment and poverty.
In the words of Zambia’s Prime Minister, “Youth unemployment is a ticking time bomb,” which now appears to be perilously close to exploding thus Africa’s education curricula should include skills and enterprise development.