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May 17, 2017

Africa: Employment, and vite !

May 17, 2017

In ten years, the continent must create 122 million posts for its young people. A daunting challenge, but not inaccessible if governments are relying on the transformation of the informal sector and on several hiring pools.

of employment, and quick! At the beginning of April, in the immense headquarters of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva, there was an air of declaration of war against unemployment. The UN agency had brought together several hundred researchers, trade unionists and patrons from all over the world to reflect on the future of work, the dreaded end of social protection and the advent of robots.

122 million of positions to be created in Africa

A figure hovered above all conjectures: 600 million. It is the colossal number of jobs that would need to be created within ten years – including 122 million in Africa – to absorb the influx of young people entering the labour market.

There is no ambiguity in the figures on the continent. The Maghreb has an average unemployment rate of 27%, reaching 40% among young women. In the south of the Sahara, where this figure rises to 50%, the problem also concerns the quality of jobs, with 40% of poor workers.

African governments are showing their goodwill by organizing a meeting of African Union Labour ministers on Employment and social development every two years. The latest was held in Algiers from 24 to 28 April. But the facts are stubborn. For example, Guinea counts, for an active population of 5 million people, "about 100 000 posts in the public sector and 60 000 in the private sphere," says Mamadou Sadr Diallo.

Some graduates opt for emigration, but the majority turns to the informal and the system of

For the Secretary-General of the National organization of Free Trade Unions of Guinea (ONSLG), also present in Geneva, "If you are not close to power, you have no chance".

The situation is little more rosy in Cote d'ivoire, which is the economic locomotive of West Africa: the formal labour market, both public and private sectors, offers fewer than one million jobs, when the labour force has nearly 9 Millions of people and it swells to 300 000 young people every year. These deleterious dynamics leave a considerable proportion of young people at the door of businesses. Some graduates opt for emigration, But the majority turns to the informal and the system of.

Yet unemployment is not inevitable. In the second edition of the Lions on the Move report, released in September 2016, the McKinsey consultancy assumed as well on 6 to 14 million of job openings in ten years... if training and industrialisation follow.

Business leaders and economists are putting forward real deposits of jobs, especially in crafts, technical trades, or based on new technologies of communication or those related to the environment. As a result, Young Africa identified the main sectors creating decent jobs, from solar to construction, to large-scale distribution. And the methods that work to change informal jobs to the formal sector.

Green jobs: a clear horizon

The ILO believes that the ecological transition will create no fewer than 60 million jobs by 2030 in the world. "The effects of a more sober economy on greenhouse gas emissions will be felt in Africa as elsewhere," says Senegalese Moustapha Kamal Gonzalez, coordinator of the "Green Jobs" programme of the UN agency. The examples are already abundant.

Uganda is experiencing a real boom in organic farming, with products sold for export (pineapple) or on the local market (plantain, millet, cassava...). Zambia has embarked on the construction of a million housing units according to more stringent environmental standards, based on local supply chains (wood, compressed Earth brick...). As for the South African programme working for Energy, it refers to the continent.

Launched in 2011, it aims to promote the production of labour-intensive renewable energies, for example with the transformation of invasive weeds into green fuels. Pretoria estimates that four million jobs have been generated since the start of the programme, although some of them are precarious.

Senegal is also following this path. Mi-2016, Dakar decided to inject 3 billion CFA francs (about 4.5 million euros) to support the creation of green microenterprises such as micro-units of desalination of sea water or refrigerated containers transported by Tricycle for the Resale of fish in the markets. Senegal hopes to create 10 000 jobs (including 4 000 direct and 6 000 indirect) by 2020, and 30 000 by 2035.

Renewable energies, a promising sector

In this enabling environment for renewable energies, the manufacturing and distribution of solar products are particularly dynamic. In March, the Africa Progress Panel, think tank chaired by Kofi Annan, estimated the sales of solar lamps to more than 10 million units per year on the mainland.

While Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania are pioneers in this niche, French-speaking Africa companies are in turn, like the Senegalese company Nabil Bi, active in Mbour since 2014. If it has only 20 employees, the distribution of its solar products in a dozen West African countries, via traders, women's groups or microcredit companies, would generate several thousand jobs, but the exact figure is Difficult to estimate.

"Installers, sellers, representatives, carpenters, an entire ecosystem is developing," argues Julien matron, DG of the company. Same effect on employment at Off Grid Electric. This Californian company partnered with the French energy leader, EDF, in November 2016 to sell solar kits in Côte d'ivoire, where it targets 1.5 million customers. Five years after its debut in Tanzania and Seychelles, in 2011, the company already counted several hundred agents, according to Citibank.

Jobs on the job: a controversial Eldorado

Individuals equipped with a computer and paid to do word processing, moderation on social networks or the classification of invoices on behalf of companies: This is the principle of the gig economy (performance economics), new form of internet offshore paid to the task.

In Africa, this mode of work can help to improve its incomes and to have more autonomy, according to the results, presented in Dakar in March, of a survey conducted by researchers of the Gordon Institute of Business Science of the University of Pretoria 500 of these e-workers, particularly in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

In 2013, at the time of opening Naijacloud, a linkage site between employers and digital microwagers, Nigeria had even estimated that this sector could represent 450 to 900 million million per year.

For the last six months, Isahit, a French company, has been trying to reproduce this model starting with francophone Africa. In Cameroon, women will work in the markets in the morning and then spend the afternoon moderating the comments of Internet sites. In Togo and Burkina, students also round out their ends of the month in this way.

Amazon is slavery!

Isahit's model is close to that of Amazon Mechanical Turk, the e-commerce giant's micro-working platform. Except that the pay levels of Amazon's 500,000 turkers are heavily criticised, with sometimes only a few cents per task. "Amazon is slavery! "says Isabelle Mashola, the co-founder of Isahit, who highlights her pay policy. Her site pays $20 (€18) a day for seven hours of work, and intends to recruit 10,000 people in Dakar, Abidjan, Ouagadougou, Pointe-Noire and Yaoundé.

Large distribution: plethora of opportunities

Slowly but surely, the supermarkets are making their hole. They are already 37 in West Africa, an increase of 20% in eighteen months, according to Sagaci Research, an economic research firm specializing in large-scale distribution in Africa. Carrefour, Casino, Shoprite, Nakumatt, Prosuma... Each opening gives rise to its lot of hirings.

"In Kenya, it's 200 to 300 people per store with a formal contract," says Julien Garcier, founder of Sagaci Research. And the fallout is not limited to direct jobs.

In Côte d'ivoire, the new Carrefour in Abidjan (in Marcory) hired 500 employees to manage its some 20 000 m2, but it also increased the number of suppliers of the sign, who had to invest and modernize to reach the levels of Production and quality demanded.

Marie-José nephew, project manager of the Agriculture and Rural World Foundation (FARM), financing and agri-food sectors, highlights the case of Gideon Logon, a cattle farmer and egg producer based in Jacqueville for twenty years and became one of the first suppliers of the new store.

This approach of vertical structuring of a sector, without intermediary of the producer up to the large surface, Carrefour has reproduced it in Kenya for its purchases of fish

For this, he had to create a slaughterhouse and equip himself with a refrigerated truck thanks to a loan of 600 000 euros granted by a pool of local banks and supported by Carrefour. With the hiring of 20 employees to the key. "This approach of vertical structuring of a sector, without intermediary from the producer to the big surface, Carrefour has reproduced it in Kenya for its purchases of fish," observes Julien Garcier. While the wholesalers did not want to deliver it, the group made contact directly with the fishermen so that some of them would structure themselves and become its suppliers on-line. »

The positive impact on employment is expected to increase over the next few years as CFAO, the crossroads partner for the development of African malls, intends to open other supermarkets in Cameroon, Côte d'ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, In Nigeria, Senegal, Congo and DR Congo. and South African Shoprite multiplies the inaugurations, including in countries where logistical is complicated, such as Dr Congo and Madagascar.

Informal jobs: ways to transform them

The African infrastructure needs are colossal – 100 billion million – and the continent is far from having caught up. The construction of roads, ports, power plants and drinking water stations requires thousands of workers. But in many cases, the shipyards do not find plumbers, bricklayers, painters, electricians or mechanics.

"When Aliko Dangote builds a refinery in Nigeria, the workforce comes from China," regrets Acha Lecke, the African boss of McKinsey cabinet. Richbond, a furniture manufacturer based in Casablanca, which is currently renovating a palace in Abidjan, is unable to find any good craftsmen. Due to the lack of carpenters and upholsterers skilled enough in the Ivorian economic capital, the shipyard is entrusted to Moroccan workers.

Yet some of these know-how run the streets, in the informal sector, even if these workers do not always have the best level and do not have a formal diploma. But how can these informal employees be converted to the formal sector? "For them, we need to imagine forms of certification and an appreciation of know-how and learning," argues Yusuf MacDonald, an independent expert on employment issues established in Burkina Faso.

The technical or craft-related training is unfortunately still rare. And, when they do exist, their graduates are often poorly accompanied at the exit. In the years 2000, the Dakar Chamber of Commerce had launched a training and professionalization programme, enlistinging a thousand dyeing, seamstresses, cereal and electricians and inviting them to register at the end of the course in the Register of Trades.

How many people have been integrated in a sustainable way, not on a single site

More than ten years later, no one knows what those who have benefited have become. "To get jobs from the informal to the formal is not an obvious one. How many people have been integrated in a sustainable way, not on a single site, for a few weeks or months? Acha Leke, for whom these programmes must necessarily be supplemented by training in management and entrepreneurship.

An interesting answer to the challenge of the informal is given by Rwanda, where the establishment of rules and standards of work goes through the multiplication of cooperatives, which integrate hundreds of thousands of self-employed workers. "They allow more normal relations between employers and employees, with a minimal form of social protection, and generate additional incomes and better regulation," says Eric Manzi, the Secretary general of the Central Workers ' Unions of Rwanda (Cestrar). The first appeared in the production of tea, then others were born in the areas of taxi-motorcycles, coffee or rice.

Mobile applications, a tool for transition?

States could also play a decisive role in mines, vis-a-vis the tens of thousands of artisanal miners who work under often lamentable conditions, conditioning the pursuit of their activity in compliance with safety rules and environmental.

In Ghana, Mozambique and Burkina Faso, excavation perimeters have been reserved for artisanal miners, who have had to acquire suitable equipment for their activities (pumps, hammer-biting, shredders...), particularly through The support of micro-credit organizations.

Last track to make this transition between informal and formal: mobile applications. Ammin Yusuf, the founder of Afrobytes, a Parisian incubator for African nuggets of digital, believes it hard as iron. According to him, service providers who find their clients through intermediation applications – such as hosting platforms (Airbnb, Vizeat), Taxi (Uber) or the delivery of prepared meals (Deliveroo) – Will one day enter the circuit Through agreements with African Governments, in the image of what is happening in Europe and the United States.

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