- On average across 34 countries, about one-third of respondents said they were employed full-time (22%) or part time (12%), while 27% were unemployed and 39% were not active in the labor market
- Among those active in the labor market: o More than four in 10 (44%) were unemployed. Unemployment was disproportionately high among women, rural residents, and citizens who were less educated, young, or poor
- Unemployment continued to rank as the most important problem that Africans want their government to address.
- Almost three-fourths (73%) of Africans gave their government poor marks on job creation.
- Finding a job and escaping economic hardship are the most important reasons why Africans would consider emigration.
Even in the best of times, unemployment is a major challenge for most African countries. The continent’s relatively robust economic growth over the past two decades has failed to translate into sustained employment gains and poverty reduction (Baah-Boateng, 2016). Adding about 3 million jobs a year will not come close to absorbing the 10-12 million people entering the labor market annually as the workforce grows more rapidly in Africa than in any other region (International Labour Organization, 2016; Yeboah & Jayne, 2016; African Development Bank Group, 2020).
And these are not the best of times: If the COVID-19 pandemic persists, Africa could lose millions of jobs in both the formal and informal sectors (African Union, 2020).
Yet these are the realities facing African leaders and their development partners: According to citizens’ views recorded by Afrobarometer, jobs are consistently their top priority, and they are increasingly dissatisfied with their government’s efforts to create them.