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Youth, Jobs, and Structural Change: Confronting Africa’s “Employment Problem”

Author: John Page
Organisation: African Development Bank
Publish Date: 2012
Country: Africa
Sector: Economic
Method: Forecasting
Theme: Employment
Type: Other publication
Language: English
Tags: Unemployment, Employment problems, Productivity, Structural changes, Policies, Industrial development, Education reform

This paper argues that Africa’s “employment problem” is in fact a symptom of its lack of structural change – the shift in resources from lower to higher productivity uses. Despite rapid growth, Africa has had very little structural change (Arbacha and Page, 2009). While many African economies have relatively low unemployment rates, including for the young, they also have large informal sectors, condemning many of their workers to vulnerable employment and working poverty. Indeed, there is some evidence that since 1990 structural change has moved in the wrong direction in Africa: labor has moved from higher to lower productivity employment.
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