New Survey Reveals Self-Reliance is the Dream of Africa’s Youth

Accra, Ghana – A new survey conducted by Junior Achievement (JA) Africa in partnership with global consultancy firm, Oliver Wyman, reveals that a staggering 91% of African youth aspire to start a business in their country. The survey captures youth’s perspectives and aims to understand their needs in order to shape the private sector of the future and equip youth for the ever-changing job market. More than 2,600 African youth in six countries took part, revealing their views on employment prospects in the African private sector and on entrepreneurship.

With a youth population that is expected to reach 830 million by 2050, the continent needs to maximize sustainable growth by utilizing its rich youth resource.

The survey also found that 76% of youth feel positively about the private sector’s contribution to the economy and are optimistic about private sector development on the continent in the near future.

Other key findings:

  • 83% of youth expect the private sector to grow in the next five years.
  • 57% believe youth typically lack the years of experience required by job opportunities.
  • 54% of students believe that there is lack of desirable opportunities for graduates.
  • 66% of employed youth find lack of job security as a key deterrent to the private sector.
  • 50% of youth believe there is a shortage of job opportunities in the private sector.
  • 40% of employed youth see nepotism as a key challenge in the private sector and
  • 93% of youth believe they need to update their current education and skills to adapt to the labor market.

JA Africa believes the findings of this survey will inform both government and private sector decisions regarding how to harness youth potential for growth. Sharing her take on the findings, JA Africa’s CEO, Elizabeth Elango Bintliff said, “Whether young people aspire to entrepreneurship by design – because they understand its potential- or by default – because they don’t see other viable employment options; a key takeaway from the survey is that an overwhelming 93% of youth don’t believe their education is preparing them sufficiently for the world of work. And this is what all stakeholders need to be attentive to in order to not fail them.”

Oliver Wyman, the firm which conducted the study is also confident that the survey will be helpful in addressing some of the challenges facing the private sector. Paul Calvey, Partner and Head of Oliver Wyman, South Africa said, “as key ecosystem stakeholders, educational institutions, private sector players and governments should use the survey to highlight and address the issues that the youth of the continent are faced with today. The collaboration of these stakeholders is essential to tackling existing challenges and preparing African youth for the working world. It is however extremely encouraging that despite the challenges faced, 83% of the youth are optimistic about the growth of the private sector.”

The challenge now lies in figuring out how Africa can leverage on youth interest in entrepreneurship to create opportunities for young Africans and bring development to the continent.

Read the full report here

About Junior Achievement 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 15 countries reaching 250,000 youth each year. Learn more about us at

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. Oliver Wyman is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE: MMC]. For more information, visit Follow Oliver Wyman on Twitter @OliverWyman.

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