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The Horn of Africa States the Dilemma of Youth Unemployment

April 10, 2023

By Dr. Suleiman walhad
April 10th, 2023

No one doubts that the Horn of Africa States region is a young region with about 70 per cent of its population under the age of 25 years and, of course, many of this youthful population are out of work and even those who are older are out of work. This prompts the continuing migration out of the region. No wonder the region is marked literally by mass migration out of the region. However, it is also a noticeable feature of the region to see other people manning even the most menial of jobs, mostly East African, the majority from Kenya, but there are Ugandans and there are Tanzanians, and one often encounters Burundians and Rwandese and Tanzanians. There are now even migrant Yemeni populations that have escaped from the wars of Yemen increasing in the region, taking over many of the menial jobs, construction business and many other economic projects such as the restaurant and trading businesses, without proper controls and proper immigration rules. Is this why they want to empty the land from its people and replace them with East Africans and others? No wonder Somalia and even Ethiopia are being pushed to become part of the large so-called East African Community, but really a Central African Community, which stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean, in the heart of Africa.

One often finds these East Africans as drivers and waiters and masons and mason helpers, jobs that really do not need any special skills. One would find cooks and cook helpers and one would find them manning many of the hotels of the region and what happens to the hotels of the region? They are often exploded by bombs which are blamed on the normal scapegoats. Could these cooks, drivers, and waiters be part of the problem, which the governments of the region are unable to manage as most of the bombs seem to be insider jobs. Who knows those people and vets for them to be in the region in the first place?

The region’s unemployment is high because other people from other countries and regions are taking their jobs. Skillful people and university graduates are being produced yearly in the region, but they find themselves sitting at home with their siblings and parents because their jobs are being taken by foreigners and their governments are not able to do anything about this seemingly normal phenomenon. They can but since most of the funds that come from outside arrive through NGOs, employment seems to be managed through NGOs as well with NGOs bringing in their own employees from outside and the main reasons, they bring them are either of the following:

  1. They are relatives or friends and hence nepotistic
  2. They would not disclose most of the sources and the strategies of the NGOs to the locals

Many of the NGOs which obtain sub-contracts from “the international communities” emphasize that their efforts are aimed at installing peace, security and the rule of law in the region. How does that work when one takes their jobs from them in their own region?

The Horn of Africa States region has been working, in the past several decades, to develop the capacity, knowledge and quality of its youth and people, from lower to higher education and vocational/technical training. The region is not, therefore, devoid of a working population, but it appears that despite the training and education given, job opportunities in their own region are blocked to the population. It is perhaps why the governments of the region are failing to deliver what they promise to the youthful population. No wonder there are civil struggles, clan/tribal wars and other types of malfunctions in the societies of the Horn of Africa States. The jobs in their own region are being denied to them and given to others, mostly Kenyans and other East Africans. This appears to be one of main causes of terror, clan/tribal conflicts and hence weakening of governance in the region.

Obviously, insecurities in the region and low abeyance of the rule of law must be associated with the high youth unemployment, thus leading to instabilities and political turmoil. Should the youth be employed as they should be in their own region and opportunities for job employment be made available to them, why should anyone go into trouble and terror situations? The people of the region just want peace and stability like any other society anywhere else on the globe. Denial of this basic right is what leads to the current instabilities of the region, and it is, perhaps, high time the governments of the region paid attention to the calls of their people and not to the calls of outsiders looking after their individual interests in the region.

The leadership of the region must remember that vulnerable youth are generally easy recruits for those involved in crime, rebellions, extremists and gangster political networks. They must work against making the youth of the region so vulnerable to become targets of the unscrupulous.



  1. One masterpiece after another by our brother Obbo Dr. Suleiman. After reading one depressing news after another that does not seem to abate, Brother Dr. Suleiman always comes to the rescue. He proves me so right again and again in what I have said about my dear Somali brothers and sisters for decades. That is because I know them since my childhood. There were Somalis I befriended going back to my formative years more than 7 decades ago and I still have Somalis I consider my lifetime friends even though my crowd has been thinning out lately due to nature doing its job as it always does. Once a Somali takes you as a friend you are a friend for life. The same goes for our noble brothers and sisters from Afar. I consider myself the luckiest dude in the hood to have lifetime friends of Somali, Afar, Amhara, Tigre and Eritrea heritage.

    Brother Dr. Suleiman,
    Keep plugging away! You are doing a wonderful job in posting so intuitive articles on this esteemed website. Blessing to you and your family.

  2. The fact that unemployment in the horn of Africa region is exacerbated due to the snatching away of the available job opportunities including those menial jobs by outsiders who make their presence in the horn of Africa in the name of NGOs is a well taken point worth noting by governments across the horn of Africa region. African govts must work as their utmost duty towards identifying jobs requiring special training and thus cannot be found in their respective markets and those which can be filled by locals.

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