Rosebell Kagumire is a writer, campaigner, award-winning blogger, pan-African feminist and multimedia communications strategist. She is the current curator & editor of AfricanFeminism.com and was honored with the Anna Guèye 2018 award for her advocacy for digital democracy, justice and equality by Africtivistes, a network of African activists. The World Economic Forum recognized her as one of the Young Global Leaders under the age of 40 in 2013.
Africa is the youngest and fastest-growing continent in the world. Yet, youth currently accounts for 60% of all of the continent’s jobless.
Gender plays a special role for the barriers to job search: “93% of Ugandan women between 15 and 29 are employed in the informal sector, meaning that they lack any kind of safety and insurance – not to mention that their small wage does not allow them to live a decent life at all.”
Even in the formal sector, women do not get to the top level. “Power relations in the job sector remain very gender-unequal”, Rosebell emphasizes.
Due to the corona crisis, many African countries are on lockdown, meaning that the majority of young people has not been accessing work since two months. Rosebell underscores: “For people living from hand to mouth, this is a very difficult time.”
“A big part of Uganda’s population still lives in the rural area and has continued with their farming even after COVID-19 started, so we can capitalize how a culture based on farming can fill in the gaps of other sectors which have been closed during the crisis.” The consequence is clear: “We need more investment in agriculture”, demands Rosebell.
Africa’s young workforce brings great potential for the future. Yet, the right framework conditions are needed for this potential to unfold. “Without access to equal pay and equal rights, the foundations for our population are not very well built.”
“Young people need to be skilled”, adds Rosebell Kagumire. “Investment in decolonization of education is essential to be able to respond to the challenges of the day.”
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