The African continent is home to the world’s youngest population: 60% of Africans are under the age of 35. But if urgent action is not taken, 100 million young Africans will be unemployed by 2030. To avoid this, the Africa-Europe Partnership for Sustainable Investment and Employment, set up last year by the European Union and African governments, is working to provide the resources needed for education and training, to strengthen the business environment and the private sector, by improving investment conditions. Similarly, over the next ten years, the Africa Youth Jobs initiative is designed to instil professional skills in 50 million young people and create 25 million jobs.
The African renewable energy industry is in its current state, the number of jobs in this sector is expected to double in Kenya, and more than ten times in Nigeria. According to a recent projection, only off-grid solar power could create 1.3 million full-time jobs in East, West and Central Africa. Some estimates indicate that by 2030, the off-grid renewable energy value chain could generate at least 4.5 million jobs for contractors, technicians, distributors and installers. And it’s just direct work. According to the Employment Supply Report, for every work created directly by a private electricity distribution company in rural communities through decentralized renewable energy, five “productive” jobs (based on the use of a renewable energy product or service) could be generated in electrified communities, such as milling, dairy processing or solar cooling storage. However, job creation is only a first step, as these jobs will have to be filled by skilled workers. But, as the Powering Jobs report also shows, the skills gap on the African continent, both in terms of general and specialized skills, is widening. Technical skills, as well as marketing, finance and management, are essential.
Africa’s negative perception of the world began to change at that time thanks to positive data on economic growth, industry, agriculture, consumption and the improvement of the middle class, among others. All indications are that such improvements and enormous demographic potential augur well for an African century; But development on the ground is slow, and nothing is consolidated.