Youth unemployment is a problem all over Africa, except for one country

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Africa’s rise has not taken its young people along with it.
Economies riding the resource boom of the last decade are coming back down with a thud, exposing that the steep rise in GDPs that lent itself to the “Africa rising” narrative did little for the continent’s youth. The youth bulge that was supposed to energize the continent’s resurgence is increasingly looking like a threat.
A new report by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, titled Africa at a Tipping Point, reveals reams of data that paint a dire picture for the continent’s youth. The tipping point the report identifies is how quickly optimism is turning to pessimism. The report outlines how political disillusionment, an education to skills mismatch and the lure of escape via “the back way” or even terrorism are stealing the dreams of the continent’s young people.

Looking at 51 countries, the Mo Ibrahim foundation’s report found that despite growth, unemployment remained consistently high. Even in countries with differing GDP growth rates, youth unemployment remained static. In both Kenya and Sudan, for example, youth unemployment is 22%, yet in 2016 Kenya’s GDP grew at 6% while Sudan’s was nearly half, at 3.1%.

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For a long while now education has been touted as the solution, but the report found a mismatch between the skills acquired and jobs available. In Tunisia and Egypt, where young people were among the most educated, youth unemployment was as high as 60%, proving that university degrees do not create jobs.

Still, there is a bright spot: Ethiopia: As others struggle to diversify their economies, Ethiopia emerges as the exception for returning to the land. Agriculture is the largest sector of Ethiopia’s economy, accounting for 80% of the workforce and contributing to 40% of the GDP, according to the report.

“This means that when Ethiopia’s GDP growth contracts from 10.2% in 2015 to 6.5% in 2016 that its youth unemployment doesn’t rocket,” Richard Murray, the foundation’s acting head of research told Quartz.

Ethiopia’s unemployment and youth unemployment rate have remained relatively stable in the last decade. Last year, Ethiopia’s general unemployment rate 5.7%, while its youth unemployment rate was at 8.1%. For the rest of the continent those figures were at an average of 8% and 13% respectively.

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Ethiopia’s government is not without its faults, especially for its political repression of young voices. Even now, the political crisis Ethiopia finds itself in is rooted land as a source of income and identity.

Despite these political complexities, policies like Agricultural Development-Led Industrialization have helped the country plow resources into developing its agricultural sector. If the policies’ success to date proves sustainable without eroding the rights of existing smallholder farmers, it would turn projected population growth into a boon, with opportunities in both the rural and urban parts of the country.

Focusing on agriculture means that Africa may be able “to feed itself in a generation,” eliminating the need for imports and aid. Given the technological innovations in technology, a new generation of farmers will be growing a very different crop to those in the past, one that is more robust and plentiful, and ultimately creates jobs.


  1. Come on!! This is one of the typical examples of an article written by a TPLF paid “economist” If Ethiopia”s economy has been as portrayed in this article, why are hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian youth flocking out of the country to die in the deserts, seas and hostile countries? Why has the regime been rocked by mass youth up rises in all parts of the country? Is it because the youth want to do it for adventure or make a drama when mowed down with the regime’s bullets? Is unemployment in Ethiopia only 5.7%? Really? This is a data tampered with by TPLF’s cadres, embedded in all state and private enterprises.

  2. After the GERD dam think tank that was set up to research issues regarding GERD dam failed miserably last year another Think tank emerged this year in Tigray to discuss the political situation Tigray is facing.

    All politicians and advocates that want to benefit from the economic revolution in Ethiopia need to attend this Tigray policy implementation research and study think tank so EFFORT conglomerate and Mahbere Tigray corporation make sure to give economic advantages to the Tigray policy implementation research and study think tank participants .

    EFFORT conglomerate and Mahbere Tigray corporation are ready to give Tigray policy implementation research and study think tank participants sufficient market share in Ethiopia’s economy. Business people that want to compete and win market share from EFFORT and Mahbere Tigray are expected to attend this Tigray policy implementation research and study think tank in Tigray .Habtamu Ayalew was expected to attend the new Tigray policy implementation research and study think tank in Tigray but he refused to attend and went in exile because he is afraid his foul mouth will get him in trouble.

  3. Hahahahaha! Ethiopia’s urban youth unemployment rate is over 40%. This article is woyane propaganda @ woyane website.

  4. The amounts dieing in Somali , Oromia and so on each day of starvation caused diseases and incidents such as exile , Acute Watery Dairhea , land dispute and so on can also be attributed to starvation. More than Three million Amaras died/went missing in the last 20+ years some with TPLF’s bullets and some by starvation with their bodies fed to hyenas by TPLF . So if you really want to know more people died of starvation during Woyane’s time than Mengistu’s time and Hailesselasie’s time added together.

  5. Youth unemployment rate 8.1%? Come on man!!! I don’t think even Sebhat Nega and his hordes won’t believe that. The prime minister himself would dispute that. General unemployment is 5.7%? Is living with fake news nowadays something we have to live with? This is very disturbing to me now. In 5.7% unemployment environment there must be manpower shortage. That means Ethiopia must import labor from overseas countries. If so, why hundreds of thousands are flocking to the Middle East legally or illegally? If this is true I will be one of the first ones to yell hurray about it. Like the young folks are saying these days – Simply OMG!!!!

  6. Who is Mo-Farah? He is a Sudan wealthy man. His country has been offered by the minority ethnic apartheid regime of Ethiopia ” TPLF ” a vast fertile territories of Ethiopia with a size of 50×1050km that could accommodate over 5 million citizens. So given his countries advantage what do we expect him to publish about Ethiopia the country which has stuck for the last two decades in the bottom of the list of all countries of this world economic economic achievement records.

    In the country from which millions of farmers flee every year crossing the red sea to get to Saudi Arabia for economic reason (this kind of farmers migration abandoning their own country is unique phenomenon that we cannot see elsewhere), youths that were presumed to be the back bone of the economy are thrown all over south African countries, Arabs and others Just because lack of any kind of prospect from their country where corruption nepotism and totalitarian rule has destroyed the country.

  7. This article is woyane propaganda no proof. It is known fact that the fascist government of Ethiopia can pay for foreign journalist or they can pretender as
    as foreign journalist. Actually we are going to see more fake news in the coming
    months. more Tigrans has been trained computer science in Mekele and according to EAST so we are going to see more of fake news. The obvious thing if there is employment in Ethiopia our sisters and brothers wouldn’t leave their beloved country in search of a new life. the hardship in Ethiopia unfavorable condition for life that the fascist government/the terrorist government created make them
    flee to south or die in the ocean.
    If possible the ZeHabsha shouldn’t post such propaganda. It doesn’t serve the people of Ethiopia.

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