Trend Monitoring Report: Jobs in the Greater Horn

Driven by population growth, the number of new entrants into the GHEA labour force (economically active adults aged 15 and over) has been increasing each year. The number of economically active adults in the Greater Horn of Eastern Africa increased by 116 million in the three decades between 1980 and 2010. It is expected to increase by another 68 million in the next 10 years. The GHEA labour force will grow by 3.2 million people every year between 2010 and 2015, and this will accelerate to 3.6 million people each year between 2015 and 2020. The top six countries in the GHEA, Ethiopia, DR Congo, Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda, account for 90% of both the total labour force and the annual growth of new job entrants between 2000 and 2010. 

 

Excerpt from the editorial

The Jobs Dilemma: 

The challenge of solving a puzzle is one of having too little information. That of solving a mystery is one of having too much information (Malcolm Gladwell 2007). The unemployment and job creation challenge in the Greater Horn of Eastern Africa (GHEA) is both a puzzle and a mystery. It is a puzzle because there is a glaring paucity of information about the true jobs and unemployment picture. The data are very patchy across the region, infrequent across time and sometimes even contradictory. It is also a mystery because there are quite a number of options that present themselves on how to go about tackling the unemployment problem and job creation challenge.

In this brief exploration of the employment challenge in the GHEA, two elements seem to emerge: 1. There is awareness that a serious employment challenge presents itself, but not enough clarity on its exact size and depth. 2. There are a number of ways of tackling the current and future job creation challenge but it is not clear which of these, individually or in combination, will deliver the best results.

This issue of the GHEA Outlook assesses the extent of the regions future job creation challenge using data available in the public domain. It then explores the unemployment puzzle and reveals the gaps in our knowledge about current unemployment levels. It reviews various approaches that are being employed to deal with the jobs challenge - direct job creation, changing the retirement age, facilitating the export of labour, intervention at the structural level of the economy, foreign direct investment (FDI), expansion of the SME sector, and even some very early exploration of the potential of the creative economy. It concludes by speculating about the prospects of these approaches to absorbing GHEA's supply of 68 million new job seekers who are expected over the next 10 years.

Read the full report

  • In this issue:
  • Editorial
  • The Jobs Dilemma
  • Part 1 The unemployment puzzle
  • Part 2 Selected efforts at addressing the jobs challenge
  • Part 3 Driving structural change
  • Part 4 - Prospects for the future