Africa-Press – Ghana. Youth unemployment puts a strain on almost all developmental capabilities in African countries, this is according to Employees Africa chief executive officer, Mr Mompoloki Makwana.

Responding to a questionnaire yesterday, Mr Makwana said skills mismatch and slow economic growth were some of the issues that contributed to youth unemployment.

Therefore, the KUSI Ideas Festival, scheduled for December 7 – 8 in Tlokweng, will come handy in addressing the matter.

The festival will also present an opportunity for African leaders and delegates from various fields to discuss on how best to address the problem.

For some time now, Mr Makwana said, the dominant root cause of youth unemployment, within the continent, had been skill mismatch.

“There is a mismatch between labour and supply. As soon as graduates are handed their certificates, they are already irrelevant to the changing job market demands,” he added.

However, he said plans were in motion to address the problem, ‘but it is painfully slow and political, since the job market demands are changing daily.’

With the job market demands changing daily, Employees Africa CEO said it was important for youth to keep abreast with the ever changing demands in the job market, adding learners must go beyond the formal classroom to acquire requisite skills.

Compared with other continents, Mr Makwana said Africa had a slow economic growth, which also worsened unemployment.

“Economically, vibrant states can generate more jobs in a year than developing countries can in 10 years. That’s a huge gap in fostering youth employment and enterprise development, among the youth,” he added.

Furthermore, Mr Makwana said lack of entrepreneurial mindset and drive as well as lack of technological infrastructure also contributed to youth unemployment.

A conducive entrepreneurial environment, Mr Makwana said, would help foster economic power, hence creating job opportunities and without that, there is a long way to go.

’Due to poor technological infrastructure, he said an ordinary unemployed African graduate, in a rural area did not have access to the internet, library and fully functioning job centers, something that limited the graduates to few available piece jobs where more people applied for a single vacancy available.

“The internet can open up for more side hustles and part time opportunities, but without this, the opportunities are limited,” he added.

Other challenges that contributed to lack of employment included sexual abuse, exploitation of youth skill and toxic workplaces.

“Vibrant and brilliant youth professionals face the challenge of exploitation by their employers, from little to no pay and zero benefits from their employers, the youth find themselves back in the streets looking for new opportunities because of this,” he said.

Toxic workplaces, he said were exacerbated by the age difference between the youth and elderly employees and had led to a silence battle for opportunities among professionals across the world.

To address the continent’s high rate of youth unemployment Mr Makwana said there was need for interventions and key strategies such as targeted skillset development and promoting and imparting entrepreneurial mindset in learning institutions.

The current state of mindset among graduates is to find a job and if they cannot find one, they are not empowered enough to create one for themselves.

Creating networking opportunities, enterprise development training institutions can go a long in way in creating an entrepreneurial spirit among the youth.

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