Date :13 June 2012
Time :13:30 – 15:00
Presented by Dr Monde Makiwane, Chief Research Specialist Human and Social Development, HSRC and Dr. Miriam Altman, Distinguished Research Fellow, HSRC, and a Commissioner on the National Planning Commission in the SA Presidency.
Two panellists will discuss the social consequences of growing youth unemployment.
Is Arab spring nigh? The Dilemma of the “Youth Bulge” phenomenon in South Africa
Many countries in the Middle East have experienced an unprecedented “Youth Bulge”, analogous to the 1960’s in the United States. This is a result of the cohort of young people and prime-aged adults increasing at an alarming rate. The advantage to society accrued to the dramatic rise in the proportion of young and skilled labour force is generally called “the demographic dividend”. This has been experiences in few countries which prepared for the transition well in advance. However, in many countries undergoing demographic transition today, youth bulge have been associated with growing unrest, due to the resultant high youth unemployment. For instance, in South Africa, many young adults continue to stay in their childhood households and together with their offspring depend on the support from their ageing generation. Some flock into the cities, in search for work which is hard to find. As South Africa is the first sub-Saharan country to enter into youth bulge, the way it manages the youth bulge will be of interest to the rest of the sub-Saharan Africa. This presentation draws attention to salient demographic features that challenges the youth development in South Africa.
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Challenges and opportunities in addressing youth unemployment
Youth unemployment is a major challenge in South Africa. After the downturn, the prospects facing young people entering the labour market are even more bleak. The sheer scale of the problem poses a challenge to the economy, income inequality and social stability. Dr. Altman will review trends in youth activity, employment and unemployment. She will present scenarios for youth employment under different economic conditions. Her findings show that even if employment targets for the country are reached, youth unemployment will still be extremely high. Therefore special interventions will certainly be needed. Given the scale of intervention required, what are the choices and trade-offs?
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