Africa-Press – South-Sudan. “I am so frustrated. I keep on applying and updating my CV every week, every month, and every year but I am still locked out of jobs, I don’t know the reason why but so far I have intern experience,” said Makur George, a 35-year-old job seeker.
After five years of desperately seeking employment, Makur, a degree holder in Rural Development and Community Service from the University of Upper Nile has now decided to seek employment abroad through a recruitment agency based in the capital Juba.
“There are no jobs in South Sudan. I heard about this opportunity that a company is recruiting people to work abroad, so I thought about securing myself a job in Saudi Arabia. I expect to secure a good job so that I can establish myself and get better remuneration so that I can support my family,” Makur said.
According to the South Sudan Bureau of Statistics, the unemployment rate increased to 12.70 percent in 2020 from 12 percent in 2019, which has been higher than general unemployment rates in East African countries. The unemployment rate measures the number of people actively looking for a job as a percentage of the labour force.
The youths, according to the 2008 Sudan Housing and Population census, constitutes over 70% of the South Sudanese population. It considers a youth as anyone between 18-35 years.
Recently, a number of youths in Juba were seen applying for job opportunities in the Gulf—especially Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Several job seekers who spoke to Radio Tamazuj said that the lack of employment in South Sudan is the reason why they decided to seek employment outside the country.
Elizabeth Nyanker, 27, a Diploma holder in Business Administration, says since her internship she has never got any employment after searching for several years. She says the future of youths in South Sudan is uncertain and advises the youths to take action by grabbing such opportunities that are provided by the recruitment agency.
“Ever since I did my internship I have never been employed; I have been looking for a job since. I have never been given a chance to work with any company, so I decided to seek employment with a recruitment agency because I failed to get it here in South Sudan,” she said.
Mark Ayierich Machuei, Managing Director of Juba External, a manpower agency that recruits job seekers to UAE, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, claimed that they are legally registered in the country.
“Our main objective is to create jobs for the young people. This is the right time for our young people to represent themselves globally. A nation cannot be built only by the public sector, we need to engage other private sectors to come on board to reduce the high unemployment rate,” he said.
Mark revealed that they recruit young people for jobs such as taxi drivers, security guards, cashiers, sales executives, cargo handlers, and general cleaners. “We are using the right procedures and systems to recruit the job seekers and that is why we as the Juba External are legally registered with the government of South Sudan. We are asking all our applicants to come to our office for legal documentation that will be shared with the ministry.’’
For his part, the National Minister of Labour James Hoth Mai said that they have not yet given licenses to recruitment agencies. He, however, confirmed that they recently received documents from several agencies that applied to get licenses.
“Chapter 4 in Article 37 of the South Sudan Labor Act says that the Ministry of Labor is supposed to license private employment agencies, so we are currently working on it. Those agencies will be responsible for the recruitment of internal and external job seekers who have graduated from private and public universities. We are working towards giving licenses to those agencies. We currently have two companies that have applied to be given licenses to recruit people to the Middle East, but we have not yet given them the green light to recruit from here,” Minister Hoth said.
The national minister admits that rampant insecurity and lack of employment policies contribute to the rising employment rate in the country. “Firstly, insecurity in the country is not allowing investors to come in. Secondly, we don’t have rules and regulations that we have set up, we have a lot of foreigners who are working in the country holding positions that are supposed to be held by our nationals, so we are still working on that,” he said.
For youth like Makur George, he still hopes for a better country and calls on the government to formulate policies that will ensure the creation of jobs for the youths. “I just ask the government to improve on the creation of jobs for the youths, we have so many graduates in the streets that don’t have jobs. Some frustrated youths end up joining criminal gangs which results in them attacking people leading to so many rebellions,” Makur concluded.
On the flip side, there are youths who have chosen to defy the odds of unemployment and are excelling in entrepreneurship. We caught up with Mayang Tut, 24, currently the CEO of NileBoda Company, which is an online application that deals with leasing boda-boda to people and providing tracking services for lost boda-boda.
￼Mayang says getting a job was challenging and that is why he teamed up with a few of his friends to come up with a business that gave birth to what they currently have as NileBoda Company. They began the business with only two boda-bodas and right now, the company has more than one hundred bikes.
” I came to Juba in 2018 from Addis Ababa; I have a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management. When I came to Juba it was not easy for me to find a job, I had to find a way to survive. That’s when I made the decision to take one of my friend’s bikes and I carried people on it. I used to work for that friend and I paid him every day until I realized that I could actually do this as work. I spoke to my friend who is now one of the co-founders of my company, and we started working together using other people’s bikes, paid those people and saved money for ourselves as well. We bought two bikes and came up with a plan and then started our company,” Mayang narrated.
Mayang believes in hard work, dedicating his time, and sacrificing for a good cause. As a young man, he hopes to build a great business empire a few years from now. He urged the young people not to only rely on the government for opportunities but rather be problem solvers.
“Through creative thinking and generating of ideas, every young person can achieve his or her goals. Don’t wait for the government to bring opportunities, rather be a problem solver,” Mayang concluded.