The prolonged unemployment problem that has plagued Africa for quite a while should be addressed immediately as it has resulted in detrimental effects as discussed in this article. Firstly, lack of work breeds discontent towards the authority and any provocative incident or issue may trigger social unrest and violent demonstrations. This may lead to casualties and destruction of property, especially when the situation is handled improperly by the state. In 1988 after fare increases were declared in Nigeria, the population responded with a demonstration against the administration. Similarly in early 1987 in Zambia, demonstrations started when the government announced that the price of maize meal would be increased.
Unemployment also destroys the family structure as it reduces the self-confidence and social status of a person. It causes lack of funds for basic household maintenance as well as for other essentials, including school fees. The result of all this is constant friction and feuds in the family, usually with one spouse demanding money to pay for housekeeping and food, which an unemployed father cannot provide. Incessant quarrels and nagging ensue, which may lead to separation when the situation doesn’t get better.
In an effort to escape away from the desperateness of unemployment, the unemployed usually indulge in alcohol consumption. The stake might eventually get raised to incorporate drug abuse, which has unfavorable effects on the overall health of an unemployed individual. Sustaining the habit of alcohol consumption when one is not employed is also not easy and this could result in prostitution or petty crime.
The following are some proposed solutions to reduce unemployment in Africa.
- Efforts to enhance income and productivity in Africa’s informal work sector should be intensified. Governments should also facilitate better access to essentials of production like capital, land and enhanced training and technology to facilitate effective marketing of products.
- African states must pay more attention to mobilizing internal resources and creating a culture of entrepreneurial development. There should also be focus reduced external borrowing due to exercising more fiscal discipline.
- Voluntary work must be offered to keep unemployed citizens occupied. Furthermore, governments must step in to help people find other methods of catering for the needs fulfilled by employment.
- There needs to be enhanced allocation of resources from national budgets to strengthen any employment promotion activity in the country.
- Higher emphasis should be placed on promoting rural employment by providing support to cottage industries and agriculture.
- There should also be an improvement of primary healthcare programs to create the provision of free healthcare for unemployed people.
- Measures should be introduced to expand social welfare programs and unemployment benefits, including rent subsidization and distribution of clothing and food.
- The education system also needs to be restructured to ensure it produces graduates who are capable of creating self-employment.
If the above solutions can be effectively implemented by all African states, the longevity and health of the African population would be preserved and enhanced. Moreover, African governments must create an attractive setting for business entrepreneurs to be able to thrive in as they go about formulating new employment opportunities.