The African Development Bank (AfDB) has expressed deep concern over Nigeria’s rising rate of unemployment, particularly among the youths, warning that unless urgent measures are taken by the government, the country may suffer from its devastating consequences.
The continental development finance institution raised the concerns in its report titled, “Creating decent jobs: Strategies, policies and instruments’
The report, which is a compilation of policy recommendations from some of the world’s leading labour and development economists, also covered the unemployment situation in different African countries.
Commenting on the report findings, AfDB’s Senior Director, Nigeria Country Department, Mr Ebrima Faal, noted that Africa was currently confronted with a job crisis with the African Economic Outlook estimating that 20 million new jobs needed to be created yearly until 2030 to absorb new entrants to the continent’s labour market.
Specifically, Faal alluded to the situation in Nigeria which, he pointed out, was frightening because of the country’s rising population and urged the Nigerian government to embark on reforms to stem the tide of rising youth employment in the country
The banker clarified: Only the creation of decent jobs for the nation’s fast-growing youth population would prevent the situation from turning into a catastrophe.
“The situation for Nigeria is much more frightening. As the most populous country in Africa, the World Population Review estimates that Nigeria’s population is expected to double – from about 200 million today to 401.3 million people by 2050.
“This will make Nigeria the third most populous country in the world after China and India, overtaking the United States. As China’s population shrinks, that of Nigeria will nearly triple from the current level by 2100.
“Nigeria has the highest number of the youth on the continent, which represents almost one-third of its total population (one out of three African youths). In addition, youth population in Nigeria has tripled over the past 40 years”, Faal added.
According to him, if the trend is maintained, Nigerian youth population would exceed 130 million by 2063, needing decent jobs to forestall a catastrophe.
Latest official statistics on the nation’s youth unemployment rate indicate that about 29.7 percent of the youths are out of employment with the nation’s unemployment and underemployment rates standing at 23.1 percent and 20.1 percent respectively.
Faal described President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise to create100 million jobs in Nigeria within 10 years as timely, adding however that there is the need for political will and sustainable policy efforts to achieve the target.
He noted that Africa’s population which had been projected to hit 2.5 billion by 2050 could worsen the current economic, political and social problems in the continent and render Africans vulnerable to illegal activities, while also encouraging massive migration within and outside the continent.