Many African governments fail in the area of employment and its opportunities because there is a concept people have – both the government and the governed – that the government has to provide employment for everyone. Obviously, this is a fallacy. It is practically impossible for the government to employ everyone. Of course, government is the largest employer in any country.
The private sector is the key to solving the problem of employment. When the government makes the market open and provides a conducive environment, the investors will come in from different parts of the world to do business. These will provide the jobs that the government cannot provide.
For this to happen though – and at the level that it will be beneficial for our current situation – there have to be some drastic measures. For instance, many companies in the developed world are looking to diversify their operations but in places where the taxes are business-friendly. There are countries that have made their taxes so business friendly that they have attracted many big companies and thus created a lot of employment for their youth. One example that comes to mind is Ireland. Ireland has almost solved their unemployment problem by offering a tax haven for businesses. Not that they don’t tax businesses, but at a far reduced rate. We can do the same.
Another area that big companies look at is security. Obviously, our country is enjoying a good level of security at the moment. So, all we need to do is to market our country by making our security haven status known all over the world and then invite investors.
Yet, another area that interests foreign big companies is expertise, particularly those that want to outsource labour. For instance, there are companies in England who outsource most of their labour to smaller companies in East Africa. This is the blessing of globalisation though it also comes with its disadvantages. When our people are trained and given the required expertise, foreign companies will come here and give employment to thousands of our young ones. Thus, our problem of unemployment can be reduced drastically.
This is where our education system comes into the equation. We must put in place an education system which creates people who can create employment for themselves rather than wait for a government to employ them. If this happens, our young ones will have the expertise that will market them instead of running around seeking employment. We need to transform our education system so that our people will be needed.
Once, a friend gave me a piece of advice which I think our young ones need to hear and heed as well. He said: ‘Wherever you are, make yourself needed.’ He continued to admonish that if one makes oneself needed by proving to be useful, one will always get what one needs. This is what we need to inculcate in our young ones.
To our young ones, we should communicate that the world we live in is a competitive one. One must excel in whatever one does so one can stand out in everything. With this we will be identified in the world as a small country that has the expertise to serve everywhere in the world.
It’s time to show the world that we are unique!