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Delivering Growth to People through Better Jobs in Africa

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Did you know? The working age population in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to increase by 740 million by 2050, more than doubling from its current level of 630 million people. Yet African economies are already struggling to create well-paying, stable jobs, let alone address the looming demographic challenge.

In a discussion with Anita Erskine, a dynamic entrepreneur and broadcaster from Ghana, Andrew Dabalen, the World Bank’s Chief Economist for Africa, answered questions from young Africans regarding the future of jobs on the continent, provided a survey of regional macro-economic trends, and proposed paths for countries to deepen inclusive growth by providing more and better jobs.

[Anita Erskine]
Hello world. Hello Africa. My name is Anita Erskine and today I'm so proud to be with you across the continent, perhaps even around the world, on what I like to think of an as an innovation. But not just any kind of innovation, because, you know, that's a fancy word or that's a mega trend, but an innovation that helps to direct and provide some kind of compass to Africa's youth. Now, a lot of you, young people, well I used to be young too, will be so concerned and so anxious about finding what you define as a good job, about creating what you call a good life, a better life for yourselves. And that's where the prosperity of Africa truly is. And that's why I am really proud that this World Bank initiative called Africa's Pulse will share numbers. But don't let the numbers scare you. It'll also talk to the definition of good jobs. And don't let that scare you either. Rather, look at it as that toolkit that helps give all of us direction to contributing, to ensuring that our wonderful young people who are the pulse of the continent are gainfully and happily and fulfillingly employed. You're really very welcome to the launch of the new Africa's Pulse. And, of course, we do have some experts online, so go to live.worldbank.org where any question you have that doesn't get answered here will get answered. And of course, make us trend. Let the continent here that we are here. Africa's Pulse is here at #AfricasPulse. Now, I wish I had all the answers for you, but I'm even more grateful that I have a very qualified individual here to share the basis of the numbers and also to talk about the concept of jobs and job creation, the opportunities, perhaps, and the challenges. I am joined by Andrew Dabalen, who is the Chief Economist for the African region at the World Bank. Andrew, you're very welcome to this launch. 

[Andrew Dabalen]
Thank you very much, Anita. It's a pleasure to join you. 

[Anita Erskine]
Now Andrew, for the purpose of our conversation today, I'm gonna call you Papa Economy. You know, as many times young people look at the older people and say, well, you probably never understand what I'm going through. You don't know what I'm going through, but we've all been through some aspect of it. Andrew, let's go back to come forward. Let's talk about the numbers that are clear and that are obvious in this new Africa's Pulse. Can you share those numbers with us? 

[Andrew Dabalen]
Absolutely. So let me take this opportunity. Actually, I needed to welcome our listeners especially from the continent. So good afternoon to all of them. So, you asked for numbers. So let me start with growth, because growth is a summary of a lot of things that happen, you know, productive activities that happen in a, in a country, right. So economic activity in Africa continues to be subdued. Growth this year will be 2.5% compared to 3.6% last year. So that has declined now. But you know if you think about the reason why that is the case is because a lot of large economies in Africa are underperforming. We still have lots of conflict and violence that has actually ratcheted up. And finally, we also have this global economy that continues to hang over the continent’s recovery. Now, 2.5 is low, but it's still positive. However, if you basically account for population growth, which is also around 2.5, effectively that means GDP per capita growth in Africa has been zero this year. Now this is not, this is actually the 9th year in which African GDP per capita growth has hovered around 0%. So, in a way, the continent has lost an entire decade, right? So that is the real urgency about the station we're in. However, in addition to that, debt levels continue to be really high and that has really put a lot of dumpers on how the countries can mobilize resources in order to invest in, core development like, education, health, water systems, infrastructure and so on and so on, right. So that has been in fact half of the countries, more than half of the countries are now considered to be either in debt distress or in high risk of debt district, which means that if a small shock hits them, they're likely to run into a real financial crisis. But they're bright spots, right? We have a big continent, 48 countries. So, it's just the fact that on average that, you know, it's growing at 2.5 doesn't mean that every country is growing at 2.5. There have been real, you know, sources of resilience for some of the countries that have been growing at moderately high growth rates of about 5% to 6%, like Côte D'Ivoire, Bénin, Cabo Verde on the West and then you know, Rwanda and Ethiopia, Uganda in the East, right. So that's one bright spot. Another bright spot is on inflation, right? So, the median inflation, which is the inflation at which half of the countries have lower inflation and half have higher inflation, has actually declined from about 9.3% last year, to 7.3% this year. Now that's median. What that will do is basically ease a little bit the pressure on household budgets. So that's Benin some form of relief. And then finally, let me just finish on jobs. Every year, 8 to 11 million young people joined the workforce in Africa, right? But only three million jobs are created that actually pay a wage, right? So that's one indicator that's challenging already. But imagine now, by 2050, the working age population in Africa will increase by 740 million, right? That's just think about that number, 740 million from now, in about 27 years. That's one generation and that is more than twice the working age population we currently have, which is 640 million. So, it's a daunting challenge, but it is one that African countries will have to solve in order to be able to maximize growth and prosperity for their population. Let me stop here. 

[Anita Erskine]
Andrew. I see, you know the hope. I choose to see the hope and I choose to say that the reason we're having this launch is because of course there is hope even in full view of perhaps one may call a downward trend. But I think there's an opportunity to bring that up. But what really does keep me up at night is the fact that there are relatively fewer jobs even when the economy is growing on the continent. Why is that? 

[Andrew Dabalen]
So, to keep this in perspective, let, let's, let's do a little bit of comparison, right. So, if you basically took the growth rate in Africa and you increase it by 1%, right? The number of jobs that you get is basically half of another region that has actually grown and shown that you can create a lot of jobs with growth. That's East Asia. So, we only get half of what East Asia gets for the same level of growth in Africa, right? And the reason it's important then to keep in mind why is that? Well, first of all, unlike East Asia, growth in Africa has been low, okay? So East Asia has had especially the ones that have really succeeded, they've had really high levels of growth but that is not even the biggest problem. The real problematic issue is that they have been able to sustain that level of growth for decades. In Africa the problem is that growth, even though it is low, is also very volatile and very unstable. So, you have, you know, a period of recovery, followed by periods of long downturns and followed by a recovery and then long downturns and so on, so on. In that situation, it's very difficult for businesses and enterprises to survive, right? They cannot grow. They can't plan long term. They can't really increase and increase the number of workers that they need, right? Because it's just not… They're literally just managing to survive, right? So that's one key problem with African growth. It's low and it is unsustainable. The third, and this is, again, where the contrast comes with East Asia, is that growth in East Asia has come from a diverse set of sectors, right? In Africa most countries are driven by a narrow set of sectors, pardon me. So, for example, it is for some countries oil and gas is where most of the growth comes from and it is offshore, it's extracted, it goes to the rest of the world, It's raw minerals. They're usually like in remote places or places with a lot of, you know, ecological fragility. They get extracted, they are removed, It's just raw exports, right? But what really adds jobs is basically trying to take those raw minerals, or oil and gas, or even crops and convert them into other products that create other tasks for other workers. That's so you need a balanced goal. And that's what we don't have in Africa. 

[Anita Erskine]
When you are, you know, kind of getting out of school, or when you are chatting with, you know, we've been there. You know, you're in university and you're being asked, “So what do you want to do after university?” You say, “Oh well, I want to have a good job.” What's that definition of a good job, Andrew? What is it? 

[Andrew Dabalen]
Precisely. So, there are many… I'm sure different people will define a good job differently. But the way we've defined it in this report is a job that really uses all the skills and the training and the ability of an individual, right? Something that really challenges a person and calls on them to use all their true capabilities, that's the first dimension of it. The second is it's also a job that gives you satisfaction when you have done it, you feel like you've really achieved something, you've contributed something. It's a job that is done in a safe place, right? There has to be some level of occupational security. It's a job that gives you a decent wage that you can kind of feed and provide for your family and finally it's a job that has some security. You're not, going to get fired every other year or something like that. So, these dimensions that I've just described is what we think of as a good job. 

[Anita Erskine]
Did you get a good job the moment you finished school Andew, tell us. Or did you have to do a few jobs that made you scared about job security until you got to where you are now? 

[Andrew Dabalen]
I had to do a few jobs. I had to work in a library. I had to, you know, hustle. That's what usually what happens, right? You start that way and then over time you learn certain skills and carry on with a career. 

[Anita Erskine]
And then hopefully you find that good job eventually. 

[Andrew Dabalen]
Indeed. 

[Anita Erskine]
You know Andrew, I'm very interested in what the private sector does. You know, I work in the private sector. You hear conversations a lot these days about the importance of private sector, but what are the types of public policy reforms I would say that have worked to stimulate job opportunities as far as the public sector, private sector is concerned? 

[Andrew Dabalen]
Indeed. And I think that is really what we want, right? We want a thriving private sector in Africa that creates jobs of the kind that we've just described as good jobs. Because remember, you know, if you exclude people who are elderly and those who are young, most African people are working. They're doing something. You know, it's just that a lot of them are in jobs that are where they're either underemployed, which means they could work more hours if they are available and they can get paid for it, or they have jobs that don't provide the kinds of dimensions that we talked about. So, how do you then make the private sector create those kinds of jobs? The kinds of things that can get into a long list, but I will mention basically just three. One is we really need to have stability. It's really critical to have stability. And by stability, I mean macroeconomic stability and also political stability, right? The elimination of violence and conflict. I mean, if you have violence and conflict, it destroys property. It's very impossible for business to think about investing in such an environment and context. So. So that's obvious. But the macroeconomic and stability is also important. And usually what we mean by that is you need low and stable inflation because inflation can be very destabilizing. Like it just makes money less worth all the time. And you have to think very hard about whether you want to invest in an environment like that. So that's one. The second is you want governments that have prudent management of fiscal finances so that you don't run into a debt distress all of a sudden. And then obviously what you want is you want governments that don't manipulate the exchange rates, which then makes it difficult for farms to get, you know, foreign exchange which they need in order to import machinery that they need to make companies really productive and modernized. So, macroeconomic stability is crucial. The other thing that is really crucial is, of course, infrastructure, like really top notch, affordable, abundant electricity, good quality roads, water systems, telecommunications and so on and so on. So, you need that because available availability of infrastructure is actually really, really important. And then, you know, especially with infrastructure, let me just say, let me give you a concrete example. What we found out is that when there are power outages in Africa, about 13.5% of job losses occur, right? So that's a large number By contrast, in rural South Africa when electricity access became available, female employment went up by 10%. So that is important. Then the final thing I want to say is you really want policies that remove protections for particular kinds of individuals or markets. You want competitive markets, either whether that is land, labor, credit, even product markets that people consume. So that's sort of the short list of what I would say are crucial for private sector to thrive. 

[Anita Erskine]
May I include perhaps it belongs here, but you can share your thoughts. Digital technology. I mean even for if nothing at all, COVID-19 showed us that if you weren't digital, if your business hadn't been able to move from brick and mortar to digital, then essentially you were left behind. I mean one personal area that I'm passionate about is education and obviously digital shows you that education can be accessible to all if it were available. So, let's put it into context of jobs, availability of jobs and I would call it the disadvantage that the youth in sub-Saharan Africa have, which is access to stable Internet. How important is the digital economy to job creation in sub-Saharan Africa, Andrew? 

[Andrew Dabalen]
Very, very important. I'm glad you brought up digital. So, I think if you basically look at the first two decades of this century, it's hard to imagine another technology that has been as transformational in the lives of African people as digital. The way we do banking has changed because of digital. There are so many rural populations or even millions of Africans who even in the urban areas that never had access to banking, but now actually carry their banks in their pockets. That is incredible. The way we do communications has changed, the way deliver services like, as you mentioned, education, health, even government transfers like cash transfers for poor families. The way that it is done has completely changed. So, so many people's lives have been transformed because of digital technologies, and we find out that the adoption of digital technology has increased the productivity of all types of enterprises. But micro to large, right? It has made them access markets. It had made their sales more… enlarge the rich of their sales and it has basically increased the ability to actually match workers, all right. The technology has allowed the matching of workers and enterprises. And that is where you see the jobs. That's how you actually see these jobs. This transformation translated into a lot of jobs. So, for example, the availability of digital technologies in Africa or the arrival of broadband has actually increased employment by 7% to 13% and in individual countries you also see it. So, in Nigeria labor force participation has increased by 3%. In Tanzania it has gone up by 8% as the adoption of digital technologies happened or got scaled up. So, so that is important. Now the key challenge for digital technology we know that is crucial. The key challenge is we have only scratched the surface of what it can actually deliver. So, what is what we find now is 84% of Africans live in an area where they have access to this third or fourth generation broadband, but only 22% of them use it. So, if you can actually then increase the productive use of digital technologies, then you have opportunities to increase employment and jobs even more. So that's how… But for that to happen, we need to make sure that at least data costs are lower and digital skills are taught all over the continent in schools. 

[Anita Erskine]
So. I’ll put you on the spot, Andrew, you've talked about digital access and skills, what else? I mean what if that young person doesn't have the access, what if they don't have the power? 

[Andrew Dabalen]
Yes, so I've talked about macroeconomic stability, I've talked about infrastructure. So those are important. There is no way you can have that transformation in African economies or even use technologies like digital without access to cheap, affordable power. Right now, we have 50% of the population that don't have that. So that has to change. There's absolutely no doubt about that, right? But let me add a couple more. One of the things that is really important is to have institutions that deliver. That's where governments become very important. We need to have institutions that deliver services that coordinate across boundaries with their neighbors in order to be able to actually bring stability and agree on all kinds of things that will facilitate mobility. And then the final thing I will add is the importance of enlarging the markets. If you are a really ambitious entrepreneur and the only market you have access to is 2 million people, okay? You're going to be limited in what you can really imagine. But imagine that goes up by a scale of 100. So, you have access to 200 million people, right? So, then the ambition and the effort and the kinds of products you want to create changes in scale and also in terms of scope. So, I think it's really important to actually think about enlarging the markets so that we can create companies that are larger, that are more competitive and that are more profitable and will hire more people. 

[Anita Erskine]
We have to ask the youth what they think. You know, I said earlier on, I think I'm still young, but you know, Andrew, the world has changed. I have two teenagers and I thought I was cool and I hear them speak and I think “wow, their needs are different” and be a representative of the new generation whose needs are different. So, I think we need to find out from them what they think. Perhaps you can answer some questions and we did have some questions coming before this launch, but before then you know what, we also did a poll, and we did a poll for our youth on the continent of Africa. And the question was simple. What do you think is the most important approach for creating better jobs on the continent? And the results, Andrew, they are staggering. Allow me to just to just read this very, very quickly. So, we did this in English as well. Now 42% of the vote, Andrew, just listen to this, I backtracked. So, we're focusing on restoring macroeconomic stability, investing in human capital, promoting well-functioning markets, building and strengthening institutions. English language responders overwhelmingly, overwhelmingly put human capital as their number one priority with 42% of the vote, human capital. And we had this conversation a few a few weeks ago, Andrew, you remember in Tanzania. Our French speaking responders put human capital and stability also on par with 33% and 30% respectively. So, you know what Andrew, it goes to show they are needing the same things that we're talking about and perhaps that is the light at the end of the tunnel, and that's where I believe that Africa's Pulse will bring us. But enough of what I think, Andrew, I have questions for you from representatives from Ghana, from DRC, from Bénin and South Africa and we got these questions coming in ahead of the program. Hopefully you have… no. I know you have the capacity to answer them. So, Andrew, if you don't mind, let's take a look at our first question that comes from my homeland, Ghana. Take a listen. 

[Atsu Geraldo DeLima]
I'm Atsu Geraldo DeLima, Co-Founder at Captain Schools, a social enterprise providing free tuition, basic education for the less privileged. In light of the recommendations of the Africa Pulse reports, what guidance can you give educators like me on preparing students for the changing job market in Africa? 

[Anita Erskine]
Oh, Andrew, that's a big one. Education. Over to you. 

[Andrew Dabalen]
Indeed, indeed. So, let's start off by acknowledging that no one knows what jobs are going to be there 10 years, 15 years, 20 years from now when the students of that teacher, Atsu, will be in the prime of their working age, right? We don't know. No one can predict 20 years ago, no one predicted that there will be influencers, on YouTube and on all kinds of platforms. So, we don't know, but so how do we then prepare? How do we train the young students now to be able to thrive and flourish in a world that is always going to be constantly changing? So, I think what has what has come to be understood as a core set of skills that would really help people thrive under any circumstances to be adaptable are three. One is you need to teach the fundamentals of reading, numeracy, that is computations. Because our world is really full of computations now and analytical skills. So that you can actually do a diagnosis of a problem and solve it. So that's really important. Those fundamentals are crucial. The second increasingly that is becoming very important is what we call social emotional skills. These are, you hear words like soft skills, people's skills. What that means is ability to actually manage your own emotions, ability to work with others Because we are social beings. When you come into the world of work, you're going to work with people. You're going to have to learn how to really manage your own emotions, but also relate to those people and solve problems jointly, right? Because that's the way you want to actually be successful and for your colleagues and your coworkers to actually value. And then the final one, and it's important. It is something that psychologists call a mindset. That sets goals, that sticks to the goals, that doesn't give up easily, that values persistence. So, a combination of this; fundamental, foundational skills in reading numeracy and analytics, social-emotional skills and these mindset people have, in jargon called grit, which is you don't give up, is really what we think of the important skills that will allow these young people to be able to navigate every kind of difficult or challenging feature that they actually may encounter. So that's that would be my brief response. 

[Anita Erskine]
Beautiful. Thank you so much, Andrew. We have a question coming to you from a student in DRC. Let's listen. 

[Perside Bolamu]
I am a student at Faculty Institute of Information and Communication (IFASIC). I would like to hear Mr. Andrew’s comments on the main challenges facing young people in sub-Saharan Africa in accessing good jobs. 

[Anita Erskine]
I love this question because, Andrew, I think here you are going to bring out the human aspect and then perhaps the technical aspect, young people accessing jobs, what's stopping them? As for the question that has just come in. 

[Andrew Dabalen]
Yeah, it's a tough one. So, let me say the one thing that I've already mentioned that a lot of Africans work, they hassle, they do all kinds of things. It's just that the jobs that they have do not really meet their needs and their aspirations. So that's one. So, I think that's one reason why we we've given the example for example, where 8 to 11 million young people are coming to the labor force and only three jobs that we can consider good jobs usually that pay away that secure they test people's real capabilities are available. So, they there is that gap that that is challenging. So that's one challenge young people face. The other one is often you know even the jobs that are available sometimes the information flow is difficult. There's no information about what kinds of opportunities are available in a city or in particular sectors and so on and so on. So that's another problem that that faces young people and then there's a bigger one, which is that there is very little mobility in Africa. Young people cannot, say, travel to a place that is actually growing to be able to go and work there right across borders. Usually the certificates that they have, the credentials they have are not recognized. Usually there are a lot of obstacles about work permits and so on and so on. And so, they end up doing a lot of work that is actually not legally recognized by the country. So, those are some of the big challenges that a lot of young people in Africa face, if I may, think about. 

[Anita Erskine]
Spot on, Andrew. And you know, I have never even thought about the concept of migration and how many of our young people really should be able to study in Sierra Leone and perhaps work maybe in Nigeria, within the region we should be able to do this. So, it gives us very, very huge, big food for thought. There is an opportunity there and maybe collectively we have to look at that opportunity. We want to hear from Bénin. We've got a question from Bénin. Take a listen Andrew. 

[Ayodélé Ognin]
Hello, my name is Ayodélé Ognin, founder of Wurami, and I’m from Bénin. As an entrepreneur, I want to create many more quality jobs. My question is: how can I adapt my business strategy to help create jobs with competitive salaries, while taking into account the high cost of living, all the issues linked to job security and inflation? Thank you. 

[Anita Erskine]
Another area that I absolutely love, entrepreneurship. So, Andrew, what would be your response to her question. 

[Andrew Dabalen]
I wish I could ask her to tell us how we should be doing. I wish I knew what kinds of problems she faces. So, I think in general, you know, so someone like Ayodélé obviously is dealing with day-to-day issues of entrepreneurship, which is really, really important. And it's entrepreneurship more than anything else that we really need a lot of in Africa, you know, a lot of entrepreneurs who create really good jobs. That's what we need. Now, what the World Bank usually does. I'm going to speak from the point of view of research because I may not know practical things that Ayodélé is dealing with all the time. What the World Bank usually does is go around the countries and ask businesses like Ayodélé’s what kinds of challenge they face in their country, in actually, entrepreneurship and in in running their businesses. And the problems are usually twofold. They come in twofold. One is this broad thing we call the business environment, right? So, things that are outside the control of the entrepreneur or the manager, right? These are things like “Is power available and cheap and reliable?” “Are the roads in good shape so that I can transport my stuff from the factory to my customers?” “What are the laws that govern labor laws?” “Can I hire and fire people easily based on my profit situation?” Other business environment things are regulations broadly speaking on land, access to land and so on and so on, right. So those things are outside of the entrepreneur, but they matter, they matter for the businesses, they affect their profitability or competitiveness and so on and so on. To solve those kinds of problems, I would say to Ayodélé, the best way to do that is to basically join kind of a professional association or rather the business councils, and then lobby the government to actually improve the business environment, right? So that's one set of issues. The second set of issues of course are things that are inside the business, the enterprise which are under the control of the entrepreneur or the manager. And those are usually called managerial capabilities. So, these are things like the decision to how many people to fire or hire, how many, how do you train your workers, which technology do you adopt in order to be able to really improve the productivity and efficiency of your workers, but also of your business. Market research in order to understand where the demand is coming from, where your competitors are and so on and so on. Those are entirely under the control of the manager and so for Ayodélé, that's where a lot of effort should go, is how to become a really good manager and entrepreneur, by thinking about all these things, technology adoption. Should I go digital or not, where? Which kinds of tasks should I automate? Which ones should I bring in more people and so on and so on. Thank you so much for that answer, Andrew. I wish we had more time, but we don't. But we do have enough time to squeeze in a question from South Africa coming from Loyiso. Loyiso, go ahead. 

[Loyiso Vatsha]
So, I run a business called Mapha that does last mile delivery for businesses within the Township regions of South Africa. What we've noticed through this rise of the geek economy is that a lot of youth due to the high unemployment rate at the moment in South Africa for youth, 70% are taking up these gig economy roles that we offer. Now, my conundrum is, and this way I'm asking for advice from you, is how would you go about upscaling these youth to become globally competitive and also competitive to the African landscape as well. 

[Anita Erskine] 
The gig economy, the gig economy, it just keeps coming up that gig economy. Andrew, what would your response to Loyiso be? 

[Andrew Dabalen]
Yeah, another really tough one. Look, let me say that doing a gig economy, a gig job is better than staying idle. So, let me just straight out say that, right. I think it is really… Because even doing a gig economy, you learn something. You know, when you're when you're really trying to, you know, do these big economies, you're learning something about assistance, about solving problems, about seeking opportunities, about making connections and so on and so on. Right? Like that level of hassle is important because it may actually serve you well later on when you actually, graduate to doing something bigger and more like, you know, being a big entrepreneur and running a big company or something like that. I think it is we should applaud people who are doing this without basically giving up and staying idle. So that's important. But then the question is how do you then? There are people who don't have a lot of skills, left school perhaps, but it's not only school where you actually learn skills. This is really, really important. You can actually pick a lot of skills at work. And so, some of the things that we can think about for young people like the ones that Loyiso was talking about would be, say, apprenticeships where you're paired with a real master of some scale carpentry, electrician and so on and so on, right? Or internships where they go spend a few months in a business and learn something about the nature of that business or how that sector works. We could we could think about possibly, you know, if the costs allow it, if the government can afford it, we can think about a way in which we can actually subsidize, say, short courses that these people can go and take in… You know maybe learning something about ICT or programming or, again, going back to TVE, technical and vocational education. Pick up some skills which allow you to work in all kinds of sectors that might be of interest to you, but if you can go and upgrade your skill for short periods of time and you don't have the money, maybe the public can subsidize those. These are some of the you know… but I recognize that these are short term solutions. They may be temporary. But we should not lose sight of the key issue here, which is that we need a strategy of growth that will really create as you said Anita, a vibrant private sector that will really be inclusive of all workers in Africa. I don't think we should really lose sight of that because that in the end is what we all aspire for. And that in the end is what will really lead to a transformation of the continent. 

[Anita Erskine]
Andrew, I don't know. I mean you were deep in your words, so you didn't see me silently applauding you over here because these are areas that are really no pun intended, but this is really Africa's Pulse. You know, creating opportunities for our youth to be skilled, creating opportunities for our youth to have access to jobs anywhere on the continent that they may choose to live. Creating opportunities for them to see the power of digital technologies and fighting for those public policies so that our private sector can essentially be well designed and molded to provide more jobs. So, Andrew, I mean, I wish I could keep you for two or three or four more hours because you were speaking to the soul of Africa. But I do know that today we're celebrating the launch of the new Africa's Pulse. And Andrew, let me put you on the spot. When you were young what was your ambition and what kind of guidance did you have to pursue this professional ambition that you can share with us and maybe a few of us can pick from the pages of your own life? Care to share? 

[Andrew Dabalen]
Absolutely, no, delighted to. So, when I was growing up, you know, and I think this is important for young people to know, I grew up in northern Kenya where there were no schools and my going to school was basically an accident. Right? It's completely conceivable that I may not actually have gone to school at all. It was just a fortuitous moment when, you know, a bunch of government officials came to the village and asked the village to basically bring some kids to a school that was built by missionaries. Right? Because it was empty. So, that's how I ended up in school. But what happened is that along the way I actually liked what I was learning. I was curious, I was inquisitive, I was interested in learning these new skills which I did not know anything about: how to read letters, how to compute. And so… So, I think I stayed in school precisely because of what we talked about, which was that there was an element of a mindset which was geared towards curiosity. And then every time we went through the school year, I wanted more, and I was persistent in that sense because, as you know, most young people in Africa will tell you that the national exams are basically a nightmare. So, every stage of the way you have to do these national exams and if you don't succeed, you don't proceed to the next stage. But the key thing is to remember that it's not the end of the world. I was able to stay on because I must admit, I didn't have a lot of guidance from my family because they're not familiar with schooling but they were also quite supportive. Whenever I told them that I wanted to go on to the next level of school, they were very supportive. They never stopped me from doing it. But I had a lot of teachers that guided me, that supported me. So, I think you just need to remember that there are all kinds of support systems along the way and you should not give up, you should be curious, you should have a set of goals and ambition and work on it. It's tough now, it looks very tough for Africa, but there are a lot of opportunities that are available for African youth in terms of digital technologies, in terms of new energy technologies such as renewables. And there is no telling what you can do when Africa begins to actually implement the African Continental Free Trade, which will unleash a lot of entrepreneurship. So that's the opportunity available for young people. 

[Anita Erskine]
And on that note, I want to remind everyone that, listen, you have got to read the new publication of Africa's Pulse. You've got to read it. There's nothing better than having the knowledge that provides you with not just a light, but a compass. You may not like all the numbers you see, but when you see those numbers, let it be the fuel behind your own individual ambition or if you are a government official of your public sector, let it fuel your ambition behind policies. If you're in private sector, let it feel that ambition behind expanding your reach across the nation, across the continent, wherever you may find yourself. If you are an individual, let it provide you with the hope that this is where we are, but then we want to go somewhere and getting that somewhere requires what Andrew has talked about today. It requires the grit, it requires a skill, it requires personal ambition, it requires asking questions such as what you've seen today. So, I've had with me Andrew Dabalen, who is the Chief economist for Africa Region at the World Bank. I personally call him Papa Economy Because you know what, Andrew? I love the fact that you have combined your personal experience with the data, which is in Africa's Pulse right now, with the future, which is the hope that we must each have in our hearts and our minds and our souls as Africans. So, again, you can go to live.worldbank.org. If the question perhaps you were hoping would be answered hasn't yet been answered, go there. We've got some experts. They'll be more than happy to answer it. You know tweet at us. Follow us on all social media platforms. It's #AfricasPulse. Let's get Africa's Pulse into every corner of the continent. Because changes here. Change has come. And that African prosperity cannot be given to us by anybody else but by ourselves. Andrew Dabalen, thank you so much for your time today. 

[Andrew Dabalen]
Thank you so much, Anita. 

[Anita Erskine]
Yes, it's been a pleasure. 

[Andrew Dabalen]
It was a pleasure having this lively conversation with you. 

[Anita Erskine]
Thank you. And hope is here. Hope is here. 

[Andrew Dabalen]
Absolutely. 

[Anita Erskine]
Alright, everyone, read about it. Hear about it and don't forget, as the youth of Africa, you are the pulse of the continent. My name is Anita Erskine. Until next year, when we bring you another publication. Have a good day. Have a good night. Have a good morning wherever you are.

00:00 Welcome

02:38 Main figures from the latest Africa's Pulse

07:27 Curren situation of labor markets in Africa

10:30 What is a good job

12:38 The role of the private sector

16:35 The importance of the digital economy in job creation

22:37 Poll results: Approach for creating better jobs in Sub-Saharan Africa

24:55 Education: Preparing students for the changing job market

28:33 Main challenges facing young people in accessing good jobs

31:52 Entrepreneurs: How to create quality jobs with competitive salaries

36:05 Gig economy: upscaling youth to become global competitive

41:10 Pursuing professional ambitions

44:25 Closure

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