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Africa’s Working-age Population to Grow by 450m in 20years

  •    Only 100m to have access to stable employment 
  •  GDP to pick up in 2018, but will remain below 4% for few years

Kunle Aderinokun

The working-age population in Africa is projected to  grow by about 70 per cent or 450 million over a period of 20 years, spanning 2015 to 2035, said the  Africa Competitiveness Report 2017. To date, Africa, which has Nigeria as one of the most populated, is  inhabited by 1.246 billion people. The population had grown by  about 550 million, nearly doubled to  1.2 billion over 30 years,  from 1985 to 2015, and now to the current level.   

The recently released ACR 2017, which was prepared by the Africa Development Bank, World Economic Forum and World Bank, noted that, going by the current trends, only about 100 million of the 450 million increased population would be able to find stable employment opportunities by 2035. 

According to the report, “Countries that are able to enact policies conducive to job creation are likely to reap significant benefits from this rapid population growth. Those that fail to implement such policies are likely to suffer demographic vulnerabilities resulting from large numbers of unemployed and/or underemployed youth. New research is providing governments in the region with insights into how they can address the coming rise in the working-age populations.”

In its analysis,  the ACR noted: “From 2004 to 2014, employment grew by only 1.7 percent in total—an average of less than 0.2 percent a year. This level of job creation has been barely sufficient to absorb the approximately 100 million additional African workers aged 20–59 who entered the job market in this period, which meant that the formal unemployment rate remained virtually unchanged amid continuing high rates of informal and vulnerable employment. 

“Over the next decade, both GDP and…

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