Youth unemployment is a state of having no job and actively looking for a job or a state of being in a working-age category but unable to find a job.

To date, many countries, including developed countries, are still struggling with the youth unemployment bulge. But, to the developing countries, this is so worse.

Let’s take, for instance, a country like Uganda. Uganda has about x42 million people; 68% are youths, with about 78% unemployed.

The youth idleness and criminality rate have increased in Busia District and Uganda. One driver is the inadequacy of jobs for the growing “youth bulge” demographics. This problem isn’t just for Uganda alone but Africa as a whole, as many riots, demonstrations, social media, and published reports indicate. However, there isn’t much research focused on the micro-dynamics of youth unemployment in Busia District in Eastern Uganda to see how this issue might represent more significant issues.

There are different causes of youth unemployment, and they range from dropping out of school to unwanted pregnancies in the case of females. Secondly, the inadequacy of skills required to gain meaningful employment is another issue. Thirdly, the lack of jobs and the necessary skills required; also, urbanisation is a factor driving up unemployment. Although there have been different unemployment interventions by the Ugandan government, there should be research on how the government can succeed with youth programs. Parents, teachers, religious leaders, and employers are key stakeholders on matters affecting young people. Further detailed research should be conducted to see a way out of this precarious situation. The increasing youth population with no jobs has contributed to several criminal activities such as theft, thuggery, rape, and defilement. These youths have resorted to drug abuse, while some young girls have dropped out of school due to teenage pregnancy. Others engage in prostitution because there seems to be no alternative for proper employment.

The above problems and longtime challenges can be solved through avenues for skill development among the youths to obtain the required skillset to gain meaningful employment. Jitoleze foundation is already tackling the issues of skills development and mentorship in the areas of Busia, and the assumption is that in case all the relevant stakeholders embrace such ideologies, the community of Busia and Uganda at large will be able to reduce the level of youth unemployment. Apart from providing skillsets, there is the need for sexual reproductive education to help young girls and females have ownership of their bodies and take proactive measures to prevent pregnancies that may affect their education journey. Also, to curb the scourge of unemployment, the spirit of entrepreneurship must be instilled in the youth to create jobs for themselves and others.

Youth unemployment in Africa is a serious matter and thus must be seriously addressed to prevent negative consequences such as social vices from taking hold of the lives of young people. The suggestions provided may help with dealing with it. However, more needs to be done.

Clide Odhiambo


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