The African continent has one of the youngest populations in the world, but also one of the highest unemployment rates.
Approximately 34% of African population is aged 15 to 34, but most of Africa’s youth are unemployed, Songwe added during a videoconference discussion about African youth leaders on June 9.
“We are not a continent that can afford to lose $79 billion a year, so we need to find a way to employ ourselves and to harness the incredible innovation of African youth,” she said.
“During this COVID-19 crisis, we are asking the rest of the world to give Africa $100 billion for recovery. But if we all had jobs, we would have even more resources than what we need,” Songwe deplored.
The Cameroonian economist then urged young Africans to be bold and seek solutions to the challenges facing Africa, expressing her pride in the innovation that Africans have shown during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The virtual discussion focused on the specific challenges that face young Africans amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the efforts of youth to respond to the health crisis, as well as the themes of education, innovation, employment, health, and civic engagement.
Unemployment in Morocco
Morocco, like most African states, also greatly suffers from unemployment. As of the first quarter of 2020, Morocco’s unemployment rate stands at 10.5%, increasing from 9.1% during the same period in 2019.
In one year, the number of unemployed people in Morocco increased by 208,000, bringing the total count of unemployed Moroccans to 1,292,000.
The unemployment rate increased the most among young people aged 15 to 24, with a 3.9% increase, followed by 25- to 34-year-olds (2.3%). According to the latest figures, more than one quarter of Moroccans aged 15 to 24 (26.8%) are unemployed.
The figures, issued by Morocco’s High Commission for Planning in March, do not account for the increase in unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In late April, a report revealed that approximately 726,000 employees in Morocco’s formal sector have lost their jobs, either temporarily or definitively, due to the COVID-19 crisis. The figure represents 20% of the country’s manpower in the formal sector.
As for the informal sector, more than 4.3 million workers have declared losing their job because of the nationwide lockdown and applied for financial aid.