The economic potential of the youth in Africa can become a time bomb if massive investments are not made to meet their social demands.
In most of the continent, poverty is rapidly increasing with more than 70% of people living below $2 a day, and 80% of young people hit by disguised unemployment related to self-employment and low-income economic activities (thrift stores, second-hand sales, street polish, etc.).
Risks of no jobs
In West and Central Africa, in particular, of the 110 million young people aged 15 and 30, about 29 million (20%) were unemployed in 2017. This lack of decent jobs is compounded by the lack of hope, pushing many to irregular migration, crime, radicalization, exploitation and violent extremism.
This is the point where the concept of a demographic dividend becomes evident as the appropriate threshold of investments necessary to enable the most vulnerable populations, in number and gender (women and youth), to gain greater access to Reproductive health services, decent jobs, information and training, essential for the development of human capital.
Strong economic growth in the so-called “emerging” countries today has been possible thanks to the acceleration of their demographic transition. The decrease in the percentage of young people in the population and the increase in the number of working people has enabled these countries to devote a larger share of their income to savings, productive investments and the improvement of their human capital. Under certain conditions, they were able to benefit from the demographic dividend.