The Chief Executive of Rlg Communications, Mr Roland Agambire, has said the issue of youth unemployment in most African countries is so complex, sensitive and yet thorny that it requires a concerted, multi-faceted and deep-rooted approach towards its resolution.
He said while the reduction or elimination of the phenomenon would require a non-partisan collaboration among governments, the private sector and the youth, a firm demonstration of commitment by the international community would also ensure a peaceful socio-political atmosphere in many African countries, especially the emerging ones.
Mr Agambire told a panel discussion at a regional workshop on youth employment in Abuja, Nigeria that African youth no longer deserved lip service.
The workshop was organised by the World Bank Group, made up of the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).
The two-day regional workshop was attended by government officials, private sector representatives, donors, civil society groups, international organisations and operational staff of the bank from Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Liberia who shared experiences and best practices on creating opportunities for youth employment and raising productivity through improvement in human capital dimensions and the business environment.
It was on the theme: “Learning from past experiences for future opportunities in youth employment in West Africa”.
The workshop also discussed issues related to youth employment, as well as the findings of a recently completed evaluation by the Independent Evaluation Group on World Bank’s Youth Employment Programmes, the World Development Report on Jobs and the IFC’s Jobs Report.
Mr Agambire, whose company pioneered the assembling and repair of computers and mobile phones in sub-Saharan Africa using young people, said in most countries in Africa, laws favoured the importation of goods, to the detriment of local manufacturing, a situation he described as regrettable.
“African economies must not be allowed to be run and dictated by imported goods and services. We fail to create jobs this way, but we all know that a job is the only thing that dignifies a person,” he told the panel discussion.
He said after almost two decades of being an entrepreneur, he had come to the conviction that trade and vocation could industrialise the continent.
He commended the governments of West Africa for “doing what they can to reduce youth unemployment in the sub region”.
A senior investment officer at the IFC Headquarters in Washington, Gravette Brown, urged African governments to continue the task of facilitating job creation mechanisms for the private sector and called for tax reforms, as well as adequate training for SMEs.
The discussion was chaired by the President of the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry and former Member of Parliament for Nkawkaw, Mr Seth Adjei Baah, who complained bitterly about the continuous pilling of taxes on the private sector by governments.