In Niger, a country where 67% of the population is under 25 years of age, the problem of youth unemployment and underemployment is acute, given that the lack of job opportunities threatens to undermine the country’s political and economic stability.
“You, the young people of Niger, have the potential to become an engine for development in Niger, provided that sufficient investments are made in health and human capital,” said Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Managing Director of the World Bank Group, during her recent visit to Niger at a meeting held at the World Bank offices in Niamey with about 40 young entrepreneurs, civil society representatives, officials, and students.
To tackle youth unemployment, the World Bank has recently launched a program focused on vocational training and will invest $US30 million in the “Niger Skills Development for Growth Project” over a six-year period. The idea is to promote entrepreneurship (11,000 young people aged 15 to 25 will be targeted by this program).
“As a result of the poor quality of primary school education, the fact that secondary education is limited and ill-suited to current needs, and the lack of options for technical and vocational education and training (TVET), young people lack the academic, technical, and entrepreneurial knowledge required by the job market,” explained Boubou Cissé, a World Bank economist based in Niamey.
“Consequently, unemployment, underemployment, and a shortage of skilled labor coexist, and this represents not only an impediment to development but also a source of frustration among youth. Clearly,” he added, “it is also a contributing factor to social instability.”
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor