Africa and Youth unemployment

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In an exclusive interview with the BBC yesterday about the state of both Africa’s and Nigeria’s economy and politics, the former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo insisted that the greatest challenge facing Africa is the high unemployment rate among Africa’s large youthful population.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who estimated that 60% of the continent’s population is under the age of 25 and that half of those is unemployed, feared that the continent is ” sitting on a keg of gunpowder.“.

Asked the best solution to the unemployment problem, the former head of State believed that a better education system would help solve the problem.

Unfortunately, the comment of former President Obasanjo has attracted many negative reactions on the social media. While some accused Obasanjo, who served as both Military and democratic leader of Nigeria for nearly 12 years – amidst allegations of corruptions and mismanagement – of double standard and moral bankruptcy, others wondered why he could not initiate the same recommendation during his reign as the head of State.

Nevertheless, is there little doubt that employment is not only a healthy ingredient for the economic growth but a source of social stability as well? What of corruption and accountability? While many Africans have little trust in the commitment of their leaders to fight corruption and hold the culprits, who have milked the economies of their countries responsible for their nefarious acts, others question why the ill-gotten billions of African leaders are not confiscated and used or reinvested in the economy to create employment opportunities for the youth. Regardless, whatever one thinks of former President Obasanjo`s comment, it is a self-deceit to believe that Africa is indeed not sitting on a keg of gunpowder. Unless an immediate action is taken, there might be an uncontrollable social explosion, which might affect both the rich and poor in Africa.