A report released by the Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa (CSEA) has shown that the Nigerian economy is not creating jobs for young citizens.
The report, which covers a period from 2000 to 2020, also shows that the mining sector is worse in lack of job creation.
Presenting the report, one of the researchers, Mma Amara Ekeruche, a senior research fellow at CSEA, said the research shows that the economy is not creating jobs for young people during the launch event of the report titled “Employment Creation Potential of Industries Without Smokestacks (IWOSS): A Nigeria Case Study in Partnership with the Africa Growth Initiative (AGI) at the Brookings Institution.
According to her, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the continent more, especially Nigeria, with jobs declining from 51 million to 31 million, with women and youth mostly affected.
“From 2000 to 2020, jobs have declined in Nigeria. The worst hit is mining, which fell from 29 per cent to 10 per cent in 2020.
“Employment growth in financial and business services increased by 24 percent and employed a large number of people.
“Mining can’t absorb large numbers of people and it is on the decrease. The sectors that contributed are the financial and the business sector which is also resilient to shock.
“Agro-processing, financial and business services, ICT, tourism, formal trade, and transportation increased in the share of employment and held the keys to future jobs,” she said.
According to her, the highly skilled and female population will be the most needed in future jobs, adding that 41 million jobs will be created for males, and 16 million jobs will be created for females if the needed infrastructure is created.
Mma, mentioned the challenges that will affect future jobs, including poor infrastructure, lack of access to finance, corruption, skills gaps, and land policies.
The researchers recommended that investment be increased in infrastructure, close skills gaps, strengthen the development of financial institutions, improve governance and regulatory frameworks, and increase logistics.
Speaking during the unveiling of the report, which was launched at the CSEA office in Abuja, the Advisory Partner and Chief Economist, PwC, Nigeria, Dr. Andrew Nevin, said music, entertainment, fashion, and cyber security will play a serious role in the Industries Without Smokestacks (IWOSS), adding that such businesses have a good value chain.
Speaking, a senior lecturer at the University of Nigeria, Nsuka, Prof. Emmanuel Nwosu, said African countries have not been able to have a substantial value for their exports, which is why the exports are low.
On his part, the Chief Economist at the Development Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Joseph Nnanna, said the federal government has taken the bull by the horns for having a law that enables the private sector to generate and distribute power.
He said several jobs would be created with the economy looking promising in the aftermath of the CBN’s direction to unify the exchange rate, adding that such a move has sent a signal to the international community that Nigeria is open for business.
The Division Manager of Macroeconomic Policy, Debt Sustainability, and Forecasting at African Development Bank, Nigeria, Dr Anthony Simpasa, said the bank is very clear on how they look at partnerships that will unlock potential, adding that their partnership is on how to reduce poverty.
In Nigeria, he said, they undertook numerous programmes focusing on the youth.
“This programme will benefit all the sectors of the economy, adding that the Bank has invested in that area.
Deputy Director of MacArthur Foundation Nigeria, Dr. Amina Salihu, said they must enlighten society to know what is changing in the future.
She said there must be a mix of a political economy with effective institutions that have influential networks.
She said over 100 million dollars in the last five years have gone to the empowerment of the Nigerian people and boosting the economy.
The Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at Tony Elumelu Foundation, Oluwafemi Aro, said most entrepreneurs in Africa are challenged by a lack of access to capital, adding that their target is new and growing businesses with the potential for job creation.