Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Jobs and the employment market: the first statistical data available for seven African capitals

03.03.2005


In most countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, few reliable data are available relating to employment, unemployment and the conditions in which occupations are practised. This is in spite of the fact that societies base their economies on work and that reduction of poverty remains the main objective of economic policies. The existing information in any case results from different concepts and methods of analysis peculiar to each national statistics institute, which prevents comparison at the scale of these countries as a whole.

In order to fill this gap, surveys on employment and the informal sector (2) were conducted from September 2001, at the request of the Committee of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). The surveys were performed by the national statistics institutes in conjunction with AFRISTAT and the IRD (1). Two series of enquiries were conducted, the first on employment and the second on the businesses in the informal sector. They investigated the labour market characteristics in the economic capitals of seven countries of the UEMOA zone (Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo).

For the first time, a common analytical method– the 1-2-3 survey (3) developed by the IRD researchers- was used simultaneously in these different countries, with the aim of utilizing and comparing the data obtained on the regional scale. The results of the first two phases of enquiries, now available, bring new, detailed and homogeneous figures on employment, the labour market, and the informal sector in West Africa.



There are specific national situations, but the employment markets of the seven capitals considered show great similarities. These agglomerations as a whole have nearly 60 % of the population of 10 years and over who are active. This means that 6 persons out of 10 have a job or are unemployed and seeking employment. Out of the jobs held, 76 % are practised in the informal sector which thus represents the first creator of employment in the urban areas, way before the formal private sector (14 %) and the public sector (8 %).

Within the active population, 13 % are children aged from 10 to 14 years, mainly girls. This trend for early entry onto the employment market is a cause for concern, to be considered with the fact that a great proportion of the active population has not had regular schooling: 40 % in Bamako (Mali), Niamey (Niger) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), 20 % and less at Cotonou (Benin) and Lomé (Togo).

Everywhere, unemployment affects the young people and, paradoxically, grows as the education level increases. Even though, in general, schooling is still a positive factor, university and other academic qualifications appear not to be an absolute guarantee against unemployment. Furthermore, the unemployed, and especially the youngest among them who are quite flexible as to the kind of work they look for, aspire nonetheless to salaries markedly higher than those received by the individuals holding jobs, having the same qualification level. There is therefore a deep discrepancy, and indeed a source of severe disillusionment, between people’s professional plans and the real job opportunities.

However, more than unemployment, whose rate is around 11 % over all the cities studied, it is clearly underemployment which is the main factor that hinders improvement of the situation on the labour market. That affects 67 % of active people. Thus, nearly 2.7 million out of more than 4 million people are in a situation of underemployment: unemployed, with activity but earning less than the minimum hourly rate of pay (invisible underemployment) or working less than 35 hours against their will (visible underemployment). Ouagadougou has the highest proportion of such cases, with nearly three-quarters of active people in this situation.

As for those considered as non-active, four out of ten have effectively pulled out of the employment market, thinking it impossible to find a job given the dearth of jobs on offer. These non-active people, who are in a latent form of unemployment, represent potential job seekers, who could be reintegrated into the employment market if this improved. They must therefore be considered as such in any deliberations on setting up economic measures encouraging job creation.

The public sector, where salaries are higher, takes on few personnel, but the informal sector now provides the great majority of jobs. However, those occupations are insecure, poorly paid and therefore scarcely attractive. These first survey results show clearly that requalification of these jobs and the increase in productivity of the sector, by generating better paid employment, hold promise as a route for improving the jobs market in the countries of West Africa, suitable for their socio-economic situation.

Other enquiries will complete the full array of survey work, with the objective of following-up the way trends in these data develop over time. This research programme is running at the very time that the African Union has just committed itself to putting employment at the heart of its concerns, at the summit of Heads of State on this subject, held in September 2004 at Ouagadougou.

Marie Guillaume – DIC
Translation : Nicholas Flay

(1) This operation is the fruit of joint efforts between the national institutes of statistics of seven member States (Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo) of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), the Committee of the UEMOA, AFRISTAT (Economic and Statistical Observatory for Sub-Saharan Africa) and the IRD Research Unit DIAL (Développement, institutions et analyses de long terme). It received finance from the European Union, the French Overseas Development department and certain countries, and from the World Bank.

(2) sector which embraces all economic activities that are not officially registered for fiscal, commercial, statistical or social-security purposes .

(3) The 1-2-3 survey consists of three interlinked enquiries which provide information
on the employment market (phase 1), the informal sector (phase 2), on household consumption and poverty (phase 3). In the framework of the operation described here, specific modules on governance and democracy were added to these three types of enquiry.

Marie Guillaume | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ird.fr/us/actualites/fiches/2005/fiche218.htm

More articles from Business and Finance:

nachricht Mathematical confirmation: Rewiring financial networks reduces systemic risk
22.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Frugal Innovations: when less is more
19.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

All articles from Business and Finance >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New discovery: Common jellyfish is actually two species

22.11.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers discover specific tumor environment that triggers cells to metastasize

22.11.2017 | Life Sciences

A material with promising properties

22.11.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>