Good morning! I’d like to welcome you to Addis – the ‘new flower’ in its literal translation. My presentation will hopefully open up our minds to the potential of young people and inspire us to think of creative opportunities
I would like to tell you a story In this story I will introduce you to Bethlehem She is currently 32 and studied accounting She is the founder of Sole Rebels which she founded in 2004 at the age of 24 Sole Rebels is a company that makes footwear out of recycled materials She began the company with starting capital from her family of $ 10,000 Currently Sole Rebels employs 75 full-time staff and has more than 200 local suppliers Bethlehem has received acclaim as the: Young Global Leader Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship Listed as one of Africa's Most Successful Women by Forbes magazine Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award According to the World Fair Trade Organization, Sole Rebels is the planet’s first fair trade green footwear company Finally, Sole Rebel’s sold 2 million dollars worth of shoes
Here we see one of their adds Ladies and Gentlemen – lets get it clear Bethlehem is a maverick AND She is inspiration for Africans and infact young people globally!
Keeping Bethlehem in mind let’s look at the other side of the story I would like us to look at some numbers on youth unemployment Although boring numbers give us a background of this story As you can see when it comes to youth unemployment – one of the pressing issues confronting society – the numbers are startling Almost 75 million young people are unemployed Out of these almost 11 million are in the so called developed world In Africa the number is aprox. 15 million
In this graph we see youth unemployment trends beginning in the 90s In 2005 almost 80 million youth were unemployed – the highest ever since 1991 Its interesting to see youth unemployment drop in 2007 and 2008 and then spike in 2009 This is most probably due to the financial meltdown at the end of 2008
Young people are three times more like to be jobless than adults Youth unemployment rate is highest in North Africa And lowest in East Asia This numbers do not inform us of the millions of young people who are under-employed – working at jobs that they are either overqualified for and or in work environments which are not deemed ‘decent work’
What do these numbers tell us Well first of all they convey – a sad story. A negative story. Infact these numbers are quite worrying. 75 million people – almost the population of France and the Netherlands together are unemployed. The Netherlands and France have a combined GDP of 3 trillion dollars so that is the vaguely, the economic loss of these unemployed youth Let alone discuss the social and political ramifications this could have!
Imagine 75 million young persons – ambitious, energetic – but idle Out of these approximately 15 million are African
Continuing this story lets ask ourselves: How does Africa absorb 15 million young people into the labour market? AND this without considering the AU definition of a young person, which is not 15-24 years BUT 15 – 35 years Ten years added! Meaning the number of unemployed youth – youth as per the AU definition – could be higher Ladies and Gentlemen: even at the estimated growth of 6% - Africa will not be able to absorb all the unemployed youth, including new entrants into the labour market due to its extreme demographic incline towards young people. and as the world’s most youthful continent!
However there is a silver-lining in the clouds for this gloomy story Entrepreneurship and creativity Bethlehem’s story Could these be a way to drive economic growth? Could these be a way to curb youth unemployment? Could these be way to tap into the potential of young people? Could these be one of the super heroes in our story?
How did Bethelehm achieve her success? Well first of all she must be brilliant, business savvy and work hard However, she probably had a conducive environment to explore her creative desire and entrepreneurial journey This conducive environment is a context in which young people can explore creativity and entrepreneurship I argue that it mainly encompasses five broad areas: The socio-cultural attitudes in which youth find themselves. This means: does society encourage creativity, risk and entrepreneurial ambitions. In Bethlehem’s case her direct family encouraged her to pursue her entrepreneurial calling with fantastic results Does the education system in the country encourage entrepreneurial courses. For instance, simple business finance – like book keeping; Is entrepreneurship one of the career examples highlighted and talked about in high schools, TVETs, Colleges and Universities. Access to finance: Is the financial system in a country set up to allow young people with great ideas to access finance effectively and efficiently. Does a strong Micro-finance system exist with effective banking mechanisms? The fourth is the Administrative framework : how transparent is the administrative system? Is it clear and simple to formally register a company? Are the tax regulations fair and clear? Are there tax incentives for certain industries? What is the relationship between administrative institutions and the business community? Are there business development opportunities ? For instance do lending institutions prepare trainings for people requiring a loan – which builds capacity of the loanee and reduces the risk for the MFI. Do open forums exist where business people can meet and share ideas and express challenges? Creativity and Entrepreneurship can benefit from this environment. These five areas of the conducive environment could encourage creativity and entrepreneurship one of the exciting and dynamic ways to tap into the major potential of young people!!!! There is no doubt that this journey is problematic There is no doubt that increasing unemployment concerns, especially for youth, is a grave challenge that needs to be addressed. There is also no doubt that the future of Africa and even the world – will need to tap into the potentials of youth to become the drivers change!!!
AEYP_Decent work and youth unemployment
Youth Unemployment: tapping the potentialBy Amanuel Grunder Making sense of the conundrum
African Maverick ofEntrepreneurship Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu Age: 32 Studied accounting Started SoleRebels in 2004 at age 24 Footwear made out of recycled materials with $ 10,000 starting capital 75 full-time employees; more than 200 local suppliers of raw materials Young Global Leader, World Economic Forum, 2011 Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship winner, 2011 Listed as one of Africas Most Successful Women, Forbes, 2012 Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award, World Economic Forum on Africa, 2012 According to the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), SoleRebels is the planets first fair trade green footwear company $ 2million worth of shoes sold
Numbers: Youth Unemployment High youth unemployment is one of the biggest problems confronting societies around the world - but do we really know how bad the situation is?How the big numbers break downRegion Young unemployed (millions) (%) World 74.5 12.6 Developed Economies and EU 10.8 18.0 Central and South-Eastern Europe 4.4 17.6 East Asia 12.9 9.0 South East Asia and the Pacific 7.8 13.5 South Asia 13.0 9.8 Latin America and the Caribbean 8.0 14.3 Middle East 3.4 26.5 North Africa 3.9 27.9 Sub-Saharan Africa 10.3 11.5Source: ILO
Numbers: Youth Unemploymentcontinued… Young people are: Three times more likely to be jobless 7.5 million are not in education or training Youth unemployment rate is highest in North Africa - 27.9% and lowest in East Asia - 9%
Worrying reality The statistics are terrifying!!! the United Nations estimates that close to 75 million 15 to 24-year-olds around the world are out of work That is almost the population of France and the Netherlands together! With a combined GDP of 3 trillion dollars
75 million young, ambitious and energetic youngpersons - unemployed- Approximately 15 million of these in Africa
Absorbing 15 million youngpeople How will African countries be able to absorb 15 million youth Without considering the African Union definition of a young person is not 15-24 It is 15 – 35 years! Meaning the number of un-employed youth according to the AU definition is probably higher Even with an estimated 6% growth The continent cannot absorb all the youth with jobs created
Silver lining in the clouds Entrepreneurship and self-employment A way to drive economic growth? A way to curb youth unemployment A way to tap potential of young people
Fostering a conducive environmentfor Creativity and Entrepreneurship(C&E)