3 skills African youth need for the labour market

According to the World Economic Forum research findings contained in a report entitled “The Future of Jobs and Skills in Africa”, “Sub-Saharan Africa currently only captures 55% of its human capital potential, compared to a global average of 65%.

3 skills African youth need // Source: The Future of Work 2017 Report Src: Independent.ie

Africa is, and will continue to be the most youthful continent in the world. Today it is estimated that Africans aged 15-35 make up roughly 40% of its population. However youth unemployment is one of Africa’s greatest challenges. By 2030, Africa will be home to more than one-quarter of the world’s under-25 population. Further the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) represents a radical change in the way we live, work and relate to each other. It is a new chapter in human development, enabled by extraordinary technology. 4IR poses new challenges and great opportunities for the continent.


3 skills African youth need // Source: UNPD


It is essential for Africa to harness the demographic dividend. Today on World Youth Skills Day, here are 3 essential skills that will position and prepare African youth for the labour market:

  1. STEM subjects

An education in science, technology, engineering or mathematics can indicate that a jobseeker is an innovator and critical thinker, someone who is able to make meaningful connections between school, community, workplace and global issues. STEM skills are increasingly necessary in a knowledge-based economy. STEM knowledge is also necessary for the labour entrants in the 4IR.

  1. ‘Glocal’

A combination of “global” and “local” skills – i.e. global knowledge and local context – is an asset in an increasingly globalised world. It is necessary for African youth to have a worldwide view within the African context to leverage and unlock local and regional value.

  1. ‘Soft skills’

Soft skills are communication, teamwork and problem solving. These skills enable a person to be an adaptable, lifelong learner. Furthermore there should be a focus on personal development, interpersonal communication and leadership training that ensures that students are well equipped to enter the labour market after graduating.


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