Africa’s youth unemployment declared a ‘time bomb’

YouthUnemploymentThe youth unemployment situation in Africa has been declared a time bomb. Meanwhile the continent is spending $35 billion every year on food imports.

Policymakers and researchers on the continent declared the rising youth unemployment in the continent a “time bomb” urging that it should be quickly “defused” using appropriate policies and initiatives before it “detonates” and wreaks havoc on the continent.

In a press statement issued by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), they also expressed worry over the continent’s rising food import bill which is estimated at $35 billion annually. This amount, they say, if invested in agriculture could generate jobs and take some youths out of the labor market.

“The youth problem is indeed a ‘time bomb’ but also an opportunity if we can quickly harness the energy in this population and channel it to constructive use,” said Dr Fina Opio, Executive Director, Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA).

Dr. Opio was speaking at  the event, “Promoting Youth Engagement in Agribusiness: the  International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Agripreneur Model,” to mark the 15th anniversary of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) in South Africa.

“Accounting for about 70 percent of the African population, the youth comprising young men and women have the most education, enthusiasm, and strength, yet very limited opportunities to apply such talents within communities,” the release noted.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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