Unemployment Rate in Africa: 75%

There are no official statistics available but unemployment among college and university graduates is extremely high in Africa. It is unofficially estimated at about 70%. The government or public sector by far, continues to be the largest employer. Even in the industrialized countries, civil servants do not produce or contribute any real wealth to the economy. In the generality of the African countries, most of the civil servants are redundant, underemployed, and demoralized; in most cases, they suffer from low morale. If the job prospects for college and university graduates are that bleak, you can imagine the fate and plight of the less educated young men and women.


(The piece of correspondence below well dramatizes the sorry state of affairs in oil-rich Nigeria. There are no official statistics available but unemployment among college and university graduates is extremely high. If the job prospects for college and university graduate are that bleak, you can imagine the plight of the less educated young men and women.)

From: “Identity Protected “
Sent: Thursday, November 04, 2004 5:17 AM
To: Chukwuemeka Obiajunwa
Subject: RE: myself

Dear Chukwu,

l finished my BSc in 1996 Dec. Started my N.Y.S.C in June 1997 and finished in June 1998. l was an applicant for 2 yrs during that period l started selling chin-chin, puns, pancake, etc. (l make them instead of me being idle or begging for money or food.) January 2000, l got a contract job with Shell Petroleum. It finished around August the same year. (It was a long story).l will still tell you later. Since then, l had no job. But I’m managing with my eating home. Take good care of yourself & be blessed. Udy.


(Here is my response and commentary.)

From: Chukwuemeka Obiajunwa
Sent: Thursday, November 04, 2004 7:11 AM
To: ‘Identity Protected’
Subject: RE: myself

Dear “Identity Protected” :

Thank you for your email.

The state of affairs in Nigeria, and in fact in Africa, is very pathetic, especially with the rate of unemployment. I was in Nigeria in February this year. What I saw everywhere I went depressed me and made me cry. I do visit Nigeria quite regularly, at least once a year. I simply cannot understand how the people manage to survive such extreme harsh conditions that deteriorates daily, and never seems to get any better year in year out. Isn’t the saddest commentary of the government and leaders of Nigeria, that one of the richest countries in the world (exporting 2.5 million barrels of oil every single day) should be inhabited of some of the poorest people in the world? It is unconscionable that a very bright woman like you possessing one of the most coveted degrees in the world should go for over 5 years with out a job.

“Identity Protected” possesses a BSc degree in Geology, and she is jobless, and has been jobless, with no prospect for any job what so ever, in oil rich Nigeria . Like most Nigerians, resourceful, defiant of all odds, with indomitable will to survive, “Identity Protected” owns and operates a canteen which she calls an eating place.

Liberia-born Monique Maddy, a resident of Cambridge, Massachusetts write in her book, Learning to Love Africa: My Journey from Africa to Harvard Business School and Back, and I quote:

The African people face overwhelming odds, sometimes brought about by natural disasters, but more often than not, by failures of their own governments and other ostensible agents of economic progress.

The fact that they persevere, in the face of such overwhelming odds, and with such dignity, is indeed a feat to be admired, particularly for those like me who are fortunate to live in a country where so many of the advantages that we have to improve our lot in life — education, healthcare, political stability — are so often taken for granted. I also have grown to admire the civility of the African people, especially how they care for and about one another, their resilience, and their eternal optimism. All of these traits as well as the continent’s physical beauty make Africa irresistible.


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