Accra, 15 July 2021: INJAZ Al-Arab and JA Africa Partner with Oliver Wyman to explore labour market skills gap in MENA Region and Sub-Saharan Africa in an effort to tackle the unemployment challenge.
The “Youth Employment Perception” survey was conducted in response to the realization that these incremental unemployment figures cannot solely be attributed to lack of opportunities in the formal labor market. The study looked at markets across four key areas to provide a dual-perspective from both youth and employers which included sectoral opportunities and challenges, qualifying the skills gap, bridging the gap, and the impact of COVID-19 on the labor market. Interestingly around 60% of youth are unable to secure employment due to lack of relevant work experience, while 70% believe they need updated education and upskilling to find employment, showing just how much a problem the skills gap currently is.
The study surveyed more than 350 employers across the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, and over 2,000 youths across both regions. The employer respondents were selected from various industries to get a broad view, including education, public sector and nonprofit organizations, financial services, manufacturing, engineering, and professional services. The insights from the study will be used to influence the private sector and public policy in addressing these challenges.
Akef Aqrabawi, President & CEO of INJAZ Al-Arab, said: “In keeping with our commitment to inspire and prepare a generation of Arab youth to become the leaders of tomorrow, we were pleased to collaborate with Oliver Wyman on a project that has the potential to support the MENA region and Sub-Saharan Africa in tackling the unemployment challenge. The survey sheds awareness on the disparity between the skills that youth are currently being equipped with, and the requirements requested by today’s employers. We will continue our work at INJAZ-Al Arab by leveraging the insights garnered from this study to provide the necessary programs and mentorship opportunities to students to close this gap.”
Continuing to discuss the power of the partnership, Pierre Romagny, Partner at Oliver Wyman, said: “We were pleased to partner once again with INJAZ Al-Arab and JA Africa on such a pivotal project to deepen our common understanding of the skills gaps and youth-employer disconnects on the labor market. These insights are critical to point the private and public sectors alike in the right direction to start addressing these challenges. We are proud to have collaborated with INJAZ Al-Arab and JA Africa on this study: 13 program facilitators and 18 friends of the work-readiness programs (employers) across MENA and SSA have provided valuable insights on challenges and opportunities in their market. We look forward to leveraging this report to create awareness with employers and drive opportunities for youth across markets.”
JA Africa’s CEO, Simi Nwogugu, said, “Parts of Sub-Saharan Africa has some of the highest rates of youth unemployment in the world and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation, making it increasingly important that we develop solutions quickly as the region also has the largest and fastest growing youth population in the world. We are grateful for this partnership with Oliver Wyman which will inform the work we do at JA Africa over the next few years to equip youth with requisite skills for productive employment and entrepreneurship.”
The study took place across 12 countries, 6 in Sub-Saharan Africa including Eswatini, Gabon, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe, and 7 in the MENA region including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, UAE.
About INJAZ Al-Arab
Operating in 13 countries across the Middle East and North Africa, INJAZ Al-Arab is the only nonprofit organization in the region that harnesses the mentorship of business leaders to help inspire a culture of entrepreneurship and business innovation among Arab youth. Partnering with leading companies in the private sector, INJAZ Al-Arab equips Arab youth to drive the economies of the Arab World forward through training designed to inspire them to develop ambition, entrepreneurship and professional skills. Named one of the top 100 NGOs in the world by NGO Advisor for six consecutive years INJAZ Al-Arab has influenced the lives of over 3.7 million students since its inception in 2004. INJAZ Al-Arab is a member of Junior Achievement; the world’s largest and fastest-growing youth business organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs.
About Oliver Wyman
Oliver Wyman is a global leader in management consulting. With offices in 60 cities across 29 countries, Oliver Wyman combines deep industry knowledge with specialized expertise in strategy, operations, risk management, and organization transformation. The firm has more than 5,000 professionals around the world who work with clients to optimize their business, improve their operations and risk profile, and accelerate their organizational performance to seize the most attractive opportunities. Oliver Wyman is a business of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE: MMC]. For more information, visit www.oliverwyman.com. Follow Oliver Wyman on Twitter @OliverWyman.
About JA Africa
Junior Achievement Africa prepares youth for the future of jobs by bridging the gap between school and the world of work. Through the delivery of financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship training and in collaboration with schools, technical/ vocational centers and other partners, JA Africa works in 13 countries reaching 250,000 youth each year. Learn more about us at www.ja-africa.org.