International confab on youth employment in Sub-Saharan Africa opens in Dakar - Several policy makers and experts convened in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, Tuesday for a three-day international conference, which is seeking solutions to youth unemployment in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The conference, whose theme is 'Putting youths to work through research and practice', is being organised by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Consortium for Economic and Social Research (CRES), the Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP) and the 'Thinktank' initiative.
It is being chaired by the Senegalese Prime Minister, Ms. Aminata Touré, and is meant to provide a platform for reflection, exchange and experience sharing between policy makers, experts and Africans as well as international researchers in order to assess knowledge gaps, and revisit current practices and strategies for youth employment while assessing the local realities on ground in each Sub-Saharan African country.
'African nations should face significant challenges on youth unemployment like it is in other countries around the world. Youth unemployment is among other main challenges we are facing, and this contributes to the promotion of inequality and social exclusion, therefore, exacerbates insecurity and socio-economic problems,' said Ms. Touré.
'That is the reason the management of this issue which is hard and difficult to address is first of all by mobilizing and putting together all available resources for the better knowledge of the labour market in all its dimensions as we must act urgently to prepare for the future,' she added.
Talking about the situation in her country, the Senegalese Prime Minister explained that the unemployment rate among youth, aged between 15 and 24 years, was 12.2 per cent in 2011, quoting the National Agency of Statistics and Demography.
In this regards, the unemployment rate among graduates from higher institutions was 30 per cent during the same period while women are described to be among other categories which are affected at the national level, representing 71 per cent of the overall unemployed population.
Generally, the level of unemployment has reached 22 per cent among young men against 33 per cent among young women, according to the agency.
In order to reduce this trend, Ms. Touré said that the President of Senegal, Macky Sall, is trying to turn agriculture into a viable sector that will serve as vector of development through job creation among youth and therefore contribute to the rural area transformation.
While welcoming the initiative of the organisers, Ms. Touré stressed that the Senegalese government expects decisions reached at the conference to help decision makers identify gaps that need to be addressed for making viable job opportunities for the youth.
The conference is meant to serve as a prelude to the special session of the African Union’s Conference of Labour ministers, to be held in Windhoek, Namibia, in April 2014,
PANA reports that the Windhoek gathering is expected to adopt a new declaration and a new plan of action for job promotion in Africa.
This will feed into the extraordinary summit of AU’s Heads of States, to be held in September 2014, to mark the 10th Anniversaty of the Ouagadougou Declaration on Employment and Poverty Alleviation in Africa.