Chairman of the United Bank for Africa, Heirs Holdings and Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony O. Elumelu, has said Africa would need to create 20 million jobs annually to tackle youth restiveness.
Elumelu who spoke to about 21,000 youths at the Joshua Generation International Youth Conference at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in Enugu state yesterday, said youth restiveness remains a ticking time-bomb in Africa.
“Millions of our young people are entering the job market every year; and 20 million jobs are needed to be created annually to absorb new entrants in the labour market. Only about three million formal jobs are being created annually across Africa and this was even before the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic outbreak,” he added.
He pointed out that Africa is the world’s youngest continent, saying that almost 60 per cent of the country’s population is under the age of 25.
In Africa, youths of 35 years and under are estimated to constitute 70% of the population of the country, he said.
“However, the jobless rate in Nigeria has now risen to about 30% in March 2021. Some states have as high as 56% of all their youth population as unemployed. In Africa, the situation is not much different: We have 65% of all Africans below the age of 35 and many of these people are not gainfully employed.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns have exposed the vulnerabilities in our population structure. We now have, as a continent, the largest young generation in history – this youthful population is Africa’s hope, it is our pride and it is our potential.
“The urgency and need to unlock the potential of this generation is imperative for the security of our collective future.”
While speaking on the power of entrepreneurship, Elumelu said: “For me and my colleagues at UBA, at TEF and across the HH Group, we have come to believe that entrepreneurship is key to harnessing the potential of these young Africans.”