Noting that “growth with few good jobs is not politically sustainable,” ILO Director-General Juan Somavia April 24 called for a new development approach in Africa which “puts people at the center of development and judges the success of economic and social policy according to what happens to people at work.” Africa’s jobless rate is nearly twice that of the rest of the world despite several years of rapid economic growth, according to a UN report released April 24. The International Labor Organization (ILO) said African economies need to create 2 million more new jobs every year for their unemployment rate of 10.3 percent to fall to the global average of 6.3 percent by 2015, when the UN’s Millennium Development Goals on reducing poverty come due. “In Africa young people are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults,” it said in the report, Decent Work Agenda in Africa. The report recommended that African countries seek to foster more employment-heavy sectors of their economies. Kick-starting job creation would require steps to reduce the time, cost and complexity of registering a business and ensure that property rights and contracts are better-enforced. Other constraints to African employment growth include bureaucratic obstacles to international trade, difficulties in accessing credit, especially for women, and erratic tax regimes for entrepreneurs, the ILO found.
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