South Africa’s high unemployment, believed to be one of the main causes of poverty and social unrest, continues to dominate world headlines and has lately become the most talked topic in political and economic circles.
But World Bank private sector development specialist Dr Chunlin Zhang said this week that this scourge could be dealt a serious blow if the country could achieve high levels of growth.
“Higher economic growth has more potential in job creation and employment. While this can be achieved, growth cannot be at the expense of sustainability and the environment,” he said.
Zhang was speaking at the economic policy dialogue on entrepreneurship and youth unemployment in South Africa hosted by the country’s ministry of trade and industry in Johannesburg.
Issues of youth unemployment were not so different from the South African development challenges, and that the primary solution for high unemployment was higher sustainable and inclusive economic growth, he reiterated.
South Africa’s general employment rate stands currently at 25.2%, while youth joblessness – described by Zhang as an urgent challenge – is one of the worst in the world (56%) among the 15-34 years of age.
Education and training as short-term solutions to unemployment, he said, adding that entrepreneurial activities can be a spin-off from big businesses and foreign direct investment or be developed within an existing business other than education and training.
Photo: People waiting at a street corner to be taken for ‘piece-jobs’ in South Africa. Credit: The Telegraph.co.uk