In ten years, the African continent must create 122 million jobs for its young people. A sizable challenge, but not inaccessible if governments rely on the transformation of the informal sector and on several sources of hiring.
One figure hovered above all guesswork: 600 million. This is the colossal number of jobs that it would be necessary to create within ten years - including 122 million in Africa - to absorb the influx of young people entering the labor market.
Business leaders and economists highlight real sources of employment, particularly in crafts, technical professions, or relying on new communication technologies or those related to the environment. Our colleagues from Jeune Afrique have identified the main sectors that create decent jobs, from solar energy to construction and mass distribution.
The ILO estimates that the ecological transition will create no less than 60 million jobs by 2030 worldwide.
Uganda is experiencing a real boom in organic farming, with products sold for export (pineapple) or on the local market (plantain, millet, cassava, etc.).
Zambia has embarked on the construction of a million housing units according to more demanding environmental standards, relying on local supply chains (wood, compressed earth bricks, etc.).
In mid-2016, Senegal decided to inject 3 billion CFA francs to support the creation of green microenterprises such as seawater desalination micro-units or refrigerated tanks transportable by tricycle for the resale of fish. on the stairs. Senegal hopes to create 30,000 jobs by 2035.
In this favorable context for renewable energies, the manufacture and distribution of solar products are particularly dynamic. In March 2017, theAfrica Progress Panel, a think tank chaired by Kofi Annan, estimated solar lamp sales at more than 10 million units per year on the continent.
If Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania are pioneers in this niche, French-speaking African companies are taking their turn, such as the Senegalese company Nadji Bi, active in Mbour since 2014. If it has only 20 employees , the distribution of its solar products in ten West African countries, via traders, women's groups or microcredit companies, would generate several thousand jobs.
Same effect on employment at Off Grid Electric. This Californian company joined forces 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 beginnings in Tanzania and the Seychelles in 2011, the company already had several hundred agents, according to Citibank.
Individuals equipped with a computer and paid to do word processing, moderation on social networks or filing invoices on behalf of companies: this is the principle of the gig economy (economy of the service), a new form of offshoring by internet paid by the task.
In Africa, this way of working can improve one's income and have more autonomy, according to the results, presented in Dakar in March, of a survey conducted by researchers from the Gordon Institute of Business Science of the University of Pretoria with 500 of these e-workers, particularly in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.
In 2013, when opening Naija cloud, a site for connecting employers and digital micro-employees, Nigeria even estimated that this sector could represent 450 to 900 million dollars per year.
Slowly but surely, supermarkets make their hole. They are already 37 in West Africa, a number up 20% in eighteen months, according to Sagaci Research, an economic research firm specializing in mass distribution in Africa. Carrefour, Casino, Shoprite, Nakumatt, Prosuma… Each opening gives rise to its share of hires.
"In Kenya, it is 200 to 300 people per store with a contract in due form", estimates Julien Garcier, the founder of Sagaci Research. And the benefits are not limited to direct jobs.
In Côte d'Ivoire, the new Carrefour d'Abidjan (in Marcory) hired 500 employees to manage its approximately 20,000 m2, but it also increased the workforce of the brand's suppliers, who had to invest and modernize to achieve the required production and quality levels.
The positive impact on employment should increase in the coming years since CFAO, Carrefour's partner for the development of African shopping centers, intends to open other supermarkets in Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Congo and DR Congo. And the South African Shoprite is increasing its inaugurations, including in countries where logistics are complicated, such as DR Congo and Madagascar.
Africa's infrastructure needs are colossal - 55,000 billion CFA francs - 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, construction sites cannot find plumbers, masons, painters, electricians or mechanics.
"When Aliko Dangote builds a refinery in Nigeria, the workforce comes from China," regrets Acha Lecke, the Africa boss of McKinsey. However, some of this know-how runs the streets, in the informal sector, even if these workers do not always have the best level and do not have formal diplomas. But how do you convert these informal employees to the formal sector? "For them, we have to imagine forms of certification and a valuation of know-how and acquired knowledge," pleads Youssouf Maiga, an independent expert on employment issues established in Burkina.
An interesting response to the challenge of the informal sector is given by Rwanda, where the establishment of labor rules and standards requires the multiplication of cooperatives, which include hundreds of thousands of independent workers. "They allow more normal relations between employers and employees, with a minimum form of social protection, and generate additional income as well as better regulation," said Eric Manzi, the secretary general of the Central of Workers' Unions of Rwanda ( Cestrar). The first appeared in the production of tea, then others were born in the sectors of motorcycle taxis, coffee or rice.
Last way to make a transition between informal and formal: mobile applications. Ammin Youssouf, the founder of Afrobytes, a Parisian incubator for African digital nuggets, firmly believes in it. According to him, service providers who find their customers through intermediation applications - such as accommodation (Airbnb, Vizeat), taxi (Uber) or cooked food delivery (Deliveroo) platforms - will one day enter the market. the formal circuit thanks to agreements with African governments, like what is done in Europe and in the United States.
Source: Young Africa