Thursday, May 24, 2012

Youth Unemployment in N. Africa

The African Development Bank in North Africa 2012 report puts the spotlight on the problem of youth unemployment in the region, which is triggered by the global economic crisis and exacerbated by recent political instability.

The report recommends several policy options governments can adopt to address the situation. Some of these include reforming school and university curricula to address mismatch of skills, reducing financial and administrative costs in doing business in the region, and encouraging companies to provide on-the-job training. The report says governments can encourage them via subsidies and tax incentives.

An extract from the Forward below:
Geographically situated at the northern rim of the continent, North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia) constitutes a central part of Africa. It is also central to the the history and the daily operations of the African Development Bank (AfDB). The countries of the region were instrumental in the creation of the AfDB more than 45 years ago and are now contributing nearly 20 percent of the Bank’s subscribed capital. 

Since the beginning of its operations in 1966, the Bank Group has committed nearly US$ 17 billion in loans and grants to North Africa, consistently supporting the people of the region in their endeavors to develop and modernize their economies, and improve their living conditions. Producing about one-third of Africa’s total GDP and home to nearly 170 million people, North Africa is today the most prosperous region on the continent and occupies a geopolitical position that goes significantly beyond its economic weight. 

In 2011, North Africa also became the epicenter of social and political change as the Arab Spring began in Tunisia and spread across and beyond the region. The report provides an assessment of recent macroeconomic developments. It also examines two important long-term challenges for the region, namely the causes and consequences of youth unemployment and the importance of moving the region’s exports up the value chain. 

The African Development Bank must learn from the momentous changes currently underway in the region, understand their underlying causes and make adjustments as appropriate to its interventions. This will be done through close consultation with our clients to ensure that we provide the best-possible support to improve the lives of the people in the region. 

In particular, as we finance infrastructure and other projects, we will ensure that rural and disenfranchised regions are developed and integrated, and pay particular attention to the creation of meaningful jobs. Ours is a long-term commitment and we remain engaged in this important region especially during these important times. It is in this spirit that we present this year’s Annual Report for North Africa.

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