Many years ago, we never thought that simple ideas could change entire structures…we always wanted them to be complex before they could gain acceptability. Most African Governments that are facing the problem of unemployment have resorted to setting up one committee after another in search of answers to job creation with little or no success. For instance, in Nigeria, several job creation committees have been created at the Federal and State Government levels. The enormous number of the unemployed awaiting civil service absorption is equally frightening with more and more people applying to the Civil Service Commission on a daily basis. Yet, Government has failed to go back to the drawing board to find where they missed it. In other African countries, the experience is the same with recent uprisings and youth restiveness witnessed in several African countries. The issue is that this situation directly hampers Africa’s economic development and is indeed a headache for all African states. The singular approach of Governments in depending on Committees is wrong as there are so many concerned groups and individuals out there that have, for years, dived headlong into the problem to proffer practical solutions to the situation. These individuals and groups should be made to be stake-holders in this fight and encouraged as well as monitored by Government. The situation would have been different if Government had not failed the citizenry and so their committees are suspect even if they be made up of private sector individuals. The plan is to look out for these people who have track records…years of toiling and providing practical trainings and mentoring as well as provision of employment, not as a business for their gain, but for poverty alleviation and a better society. Government should then investigate and assess their achievements with a view to encourage their concepts and fund their programs on a larger scale. The issue of unemployment needs a multi-pronged approach if we are to come even close to the ideals of the MDGs and the visions of most African states.
All through school, from Kindergarten, through Primary school to the University, all we’ve ever been thought is to finish school and get a job. I can’t remember been told to finish school and start a business or a trade….my parents wouldn’t have that….no parent would hear of it. Its not the practice. Its not our ways, we’re told. Government will provide you the jobs we’re further reassured. Now that Government has done the best they can, isn’t it time for us to take on the situation…take the bull by the horn. But then Government can play some other roles for us while we sort ourselves out creating our own jobs. Government can make facilities work better and concentrate on other things we’d need to get us properly employed. The pressure on Governments is unbearable and we need to help them. You and I need to make the efforts. The education system needs to be completely revamped to be more skill oriented end entrepreneurship driven. They can setup all their committees and act on all the recommendations of the committees but you and I that are unemployed actually know what we face and have ideas on how to solve the problems based on our daily experience and suffering on the streets in search of jobs. Imagine that after all the years of walking the streets without jobs, you finally see one that you should be qualified for and it says you must have the years of experience you’ve been on the streets searching for the same job. Imagine that after four years of joblessness, the Government makes you an Intern in an organization for two to three years and you don’t get paid or retained by the organization, just so that the issue of experience can be solved. This is the state of confusion and colossal nature of the problem at hand. The only way out of this is that on graduation, you’d have had almost a life-time of practical and skill oriented education that should make you match the demands of any employer.
I think enough has been said about Government. Let’s move forward now…but wait a minute. I’ve come to understand that University graduates are the main concerns of some of these job creation committees. That is where the mistake will be made. If the job is to be provided, it should cut across all cadres as it is a well-known fact that it is the idle, illiterate and semi-literate citizens that are usually more easily convinced into hooliganism, armed robbery, arson and other social vices to mention but a few. I really admire what The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), The Council of Trade Unions (NACTU), and The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) did to curb South Africa’s huge unemployment problem when they collectively founded the Job Creation Trust at the Presidential Job Summit of 1998, by asking workers to donate one day’s wage and companies’ one day’s profit. It was an attempt by organized labour to contribute and fight against unemployment in South Africa, which stood at the time at 37%, and other social ills such as rime, disease and poverty. The Trust was able to raise R89 million mainly from members. This is admirable and we would encourage other African states to learn from this effort and make it a reality in their countries. EMPLOYER, when established in at least 1/3 of all African countries would push for the Africa Job Trust or Africa Employment Trust that will use our trusted model to further create jobs in their millions for Africa. We would encourage any group or individuals who have the power to do this now before we get there to go ahead as we must move Africa forward at this crucial time and we would lend our support by giving all the blue print on the EMPLOYER project to such a trust.
The plight of the African continent is more fundamentally reflected in the state of its labour force in that the majority continues to be primarily underemployed with low or survival incomes. Indeed, the state of the labour market very much reflects the nature of the African economic crisis. A crisis caused by several factors that are natural, political and economic in nature. Africa’s high population of three quarters of a billion places a lot of pressure on Governments to maintain adequate earning opportunities for their citizens if their per capita income were to remain stable.
It is obvious that various unstable and volatile economic policies in Africa are not in tandem with the practices of globalization as Africa’s problems abound amidst globalization. We believe that the approach is for African states is to encourage policies and programs that would increase micro, macro and small and medium Enterprises. This is as a result of the population structure of most African countries. Youth, which make up well over 45% of the population of Africa is either grossly underemployed or unemployed. I believe that regulation of labour as is seen in the formal sector should be moderate d or slightly diluted to allow for a wider reach especially amongst the youths.
EMPLOYER, created out of necessity, anger, empathy, hunger and trudging on the streets of Africa has come as an answer and like all UNINET programs, is a new hope for an envisaged new Africa – that Africa that will know no hunger, whose youths shall be made employers of labour and whose economy shall thrive like never before seen. Once more, the practice of jobocracy as shall be explained in the near furfure will be the main element of our success. Join us!