The world is yet to fully recover from the global economic and financial crisis of 2008. The global unemployment rate is estimated by the International Labor Organization (ILO) to be six (6) percent of the global labor force in 2014 and is projected to edge higher, due to slower than projected global economic recovery. The estimated unemployment rate for sub-Saharan Africa for 2014 is 7.5 percent, and has been steadily rising translating into crime, violence, conflict and for the girls, exposure to unfortunate vulnerabilities. The situation of the youth is especially dire. There are currently 1.8 billion adolescents and youth in the world, making up one quarter of the world’s population. However, the global labor market outlook for young people has worsened for every region in the world.
The global youth unemployment rate increased from 12.9 percent in 2012 to 13.1 percent in 2013, while Africa’s youth unemployment rate was estimated to be 51 percent in 2013. Of Africa’s unemployed, 60percent are young people and youth unemployment rates are more than double those of adult unemployment in most African countries. Of those in employment, the proportion of young people in the informal sector is significantly higher than that of adults. More than 70 percent of Africa’s youth live on less than USD 2 per day. Young people find it hard to get a first job and face many obstacles, ranging from discrimination, marginalization and poverty.
The youth constitute 21.3 percent of the total population and 57 percent of the labor force. Seventy nine (79 percent) of youth live in rural areas where poverty levels are high and the major economic activity is agriculture. The youth in Uganda face numerous and multi-dimensional problems including: the persistence of inadequate employable skills; limited access to assets and other means of production; limited access to basic and critical health services, including sexual and reproductive health services.
As an example, only 30 percent females in Uganda have access to contraception services, the majority being youth; early marriages and pregnancies with prevalence rates at 22.3 for the ages of 12 – 17 years in select districts; substance and drug abuse as a coping strategy for lack of employment. They are also affected by peer influence and other social pressures, exposing them to HIV/AIDS, crime, unplanned pregnancies and Sexually Transmitted Infections, lack of life skills needed to resist such pressures and to practice safe behavior.
Raising Africa aspires to make contributions in this Youth Issues sphere by way of targeting to reduce Youth unemployment and redundancy partially through stimulation of their innovation potential. This it will do through some of the following strategic interventions:
- Enhance meaningful youth participation in democracy and good governance as well as socioeconomic development processes in Uganda and beyond.
- To mobilize human, financial and other resources needed to support youth related programmes and initiatives.
- To provide a platform for the youth to share ideas, knowledge, information and best practices on issues affecting their generation.
- To equip the youth with basic vocational skills to enable them to be self-reliant.
- To equip youth with life skills for positive living and victory over health and social challenges.
- To tap the existing talent among the youths and potential in the region to develop projects with social and economic value to the youth and the organization.