Struggling to find a job in South Africa. '' A desperate search for work. '' South Africa's young have trained for jobs that haven't materialized.

South Africa is the most industrialized country in Africa and was once considered an economic success story. But it has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world :

61 percent of people ages 15 to 24 are unemployed, according to Statistics South Africa, a government agency.

The overall unemployment rate is 33 percent, and the rate is 35 percent for high school graduates.

IF SOUTH AFRICA - the most developed economy on the continent, cannot create enough jobs, economists warn, then how are poorer countries in Africa going to generate opportunities for their booming youth population?

Ms. Stafford, her sister and two cousins all have high school diplomas - historically a ticket to a decent job in South Africa. But all of them were still unemployed after searching for work for years.

Their quest has been full of humiliations and surprises. Ms. Stafford's odyssey has taken her to a company that vanished when she was supposed to pick up her check, a pyramid scheme and even, unwittingly, a brothel.

'' There's no moving forward,'' Ms. Stafford said. She frets that only those with connections succeed,  but she said, '' I keep trying to get a job, and I go all out.''

She is part of a generation of South Africans born nearly a decade after the fall of the apartheid regime,  who expected to have better prospects than their parents and grandparents.

Much of the industrialized world is facing the opposite problem. In the coming decades, parts of Europe and Asia are expected to have the oldest populations in recorded history, with extraordinary number of retirees depending on shrinking numbers of working-age-people to support them.

Africa, by contrast, has plenty of young people with higher expectations than ever.  

A push to get more children in the class room has paid off : 

Forty-four percent of Africans graduated from high school in 2020 - an increase from 27 percent two decades earlier. But the shortage of jobs could push them deeper into poverty and desperation. 

About one million Africans enter the work force every month, researchers found, but fewer than one in four find formal jobs.

So, young Africans, even those with college degrees, do menial labor, accept payment in food, migrate to other countries on the continent looking for better opportunities and cross oceans in rickety boats to find work.

The World Students Society thanks author Lynsey Chutel.


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!