Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), has set up a 9-member Presidential Youth Advisory Group (PYAG) on job creation to provide insights and innovative solutions to the problem of youth unemployment across Africa.
He inaugurated the advisory group on the sidelines of the 6th EU-Africa Business Forum in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
According to him, the advisory group was part of AfDB’s Jobs for Youth in Africa initiative which aims at creating 25 million jobs and impacting 50 million youth over the next ten years by equipping them with the right skills to get decent and meaningful jobs.
He said the duty of the advisory group would be to develop new and fresh perspectives and recommend innovative solutions that will shape AfDB’s support to African countries and reduce the scourge of Youth unemployment.
While stressing that “Africa has an unemployment crisis among its youth,” Adesina observed that out of the 13 million youths that enter the labour market each year, only 3 million are in wage employment, while the rest are underemployed or in vulnerable employment.
He said that if the youth unemployment challenge is fixed, Africa’s GDP will grow by $500 million per year for the next thirty years and per capita income within will rise by 55% every year to the year 2050.
He noted that unless employment opportunities are created for the youths, Africa’s rapidly growing population of youths can give rise to serious social, economic, political and security challenges.
“Africa’s youths, though strong and dynamic, cross the desert or the Mediterranean sea because they do not find decent jobs in Africa. Graduates are wandering in the streets, jobless. The low level of employment opportunities is also fueling violence and extremism in Africa.
“40% of African youths engaged in armed violence join gangs or terrorist groups because of limited opportunities in their countries.
“66 million African youths earn less than $2 a day, less than the price of a hamburger. 66 million is 8 times the size of Switzerland, 6 times the size of Belgium, the same size as UK, France or Italy, and 80% of Germany’s population,” Adesina emphasised.
On why he inaugurated the advisory group, Adesina explained: “We recognize the enormous amount of energy, creative and innovative thinking, and entrepreneurial excellence that many of our youth bring to the table. For this reason, the Bank must ensure that it is well advised by cutting-edge youth representatives on its policies, actions and programmes, for the benefit of Africa’s youth.”
The advisory group is to be chaired by Ashish Thakkar (Tanzania), CEO of the Mara Group.
Other members are Uzodinma Iweala, award-winning author, Nigeria; Mamadou Toure, CEO, Africa 2.0/Ubuntu Capital, Cameroon; Vanessa Moungar, Human and Social Development Director, AfDB and member of President Macron’s Presidential Council for Africa, Chad.
Also included are Francine Muyumba, President, Panafrican Youth Union, Democratic Republic of Congo; Jeremy Johnson, Co-founder, Andela, USA; Clarisse Iribagiza, CEO, Hehe, Rwanda; Ada Osakwe, CEO, Agrolay Ventures, Nigeria; and Monica Musonda, CEO of Java Foods, Zambia.