Millions of Young South Africans Jobless - What Are the Answers?

The media frequently portray young people excluded from wage work as inactive, aimless and alienated from mainstream society. This image feeds into fears of crime, violence and social unrest in which people who are jobless are cast as a "ticking time bomb" that poses a threat to a country's stability, reports The Conversation.

African countries are experiencing an unprecedented level of unemployment among young people. The unemployment numbers are expected to increase given the booming youth population in Africa. The problem is particularly acute in South Africa. World Bank statistics show that in 2019 the youth unemployment rate in South Africa stood at 58%, which is one of the highest in sub-Saharan Africa. For South Africa, the unemployment numbers are expected to increase. Over 60% of the unemployed at the start of 2020 were aged 15-34.

A gender gap is also evident in the unemployment figures among people with advanced education. The unemployment rates of 2.3% in 2007 and 12% in 2019 for males with advanced education were lower than those of their female counterparts, which grew from 4.7% to 15%. This status risks long-term scarring effects for young people along with increases in informal working and social isolation.

InFocus

Street market, in vicinity of Hillbrow, Johannesburg, South Africa (file image).

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