Nigeria’s unemployment rate frightening -AfDB

The African Development Bank on Monday said the unemployment situation in Nigeria was frightening and could become catastrophic if decent jobs were not created for the country’s youth population.

It raised the concern at the regional presentation of a report entitled, ‘Creating decent jobs: Strategies, policies and instruments’, in Abuja.

The report, a compilation of policy recommendations from some of the world’s leading labour and development economists, also looked at the unemployment situation in different African countries.

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Senior Director, Nigeria Country Department, AfDB, Mr Ebrima Faal, in an address, said Africa was currently facing a job crisis, with the African Economic Outlook estimating that 20 million new jobs needed to be created annually until 2030 to absorb new entrants to the workforce.

Faal, however, noted that the situation in Nigeria was frightening due to the country’s population.

Only the creation of decent jobs for the nation’s fast-growing youth population would prevent the situation from turning into a catastrophe, he stated.

The AfDB official said if the trend was maintained, youth population in Nigeria would exceed 130 million by 2063, needing decent jobs to forestall a catastrophe.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria has some of the highest unemployment and underemployment rates in Africa, put respectively at 23.1 per cent and 20.1 per cent.

Specifically, the country’s youth unemployment rate, according to the NBS, is 29.7 per cent. Women unemployment rate is put at 26.6 per cent.

Faal described President Muhammadu Buhari’s call for the creation of 100 million jobs in Nigeria within 10 years as timely, but added that bold political will and sustainable policy efforts’ would be required to realise the plan.

He noted that Africa’s population, projected to get to 2.5 billion by 2050, could worsen the current economic, political and social problems and render Africans vulnerable to illegal activities, while also fueling migration within and out of the continent.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, represented by Director of Special Duties and Projects at the ministry, Dr Martina Nwordu, said that the unemployment rate on the continent was a threat that should be tackled strategically.

He said insecurity, criminal activities, proliferation of small arms and hard drugs were linked to unemployment.

Also speaking on threats posed by the high unemployment rate in the country, President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mr Mansur Ahmed, said a new approach had to be adopted in tackling the problem. Punch

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