Meaningful Jobs will reduce poverty in Africa

November 18, 2014

The growth of the middle class has been one of Africa’s better stories. Companies from around the globe are going to the continent in droves in the hope of tapping the vast market. Many others have been saying about the rapidly expanding middle class. It now numbers some 150 million people, or nearly 15 per cent of Africa’s total population. Each of these 150 million people are spending an average of $100 a month, while around 50 million of them are spending even more, according to a new report and the middle class was expected to grow to 300 million by 2025, setting the stage for “sustained strong economic growth over the next decade.”As the middle class grows, poverty falls. These are different sides of the same coin. The key to people moving Africans from poverty to affluence is the availability of good jobs. If people have jobs, they can feed their family, send their children to school and over time raise their living standards.

There are several African governments that have been highly successful in reducing poverty with Tanzania, Zambia, Ghana, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Namibia leading the frontline. Over the past four years, those countries have managed to improve the lives of some 10 million people, reducing the poverty rate to 5 percent of the total population. It is projected that over the next six years, another 20 million people could be lifted out of poverty through empowering African economies, boosting entrepreneurship and creating more jobs. This is where both African government and the private sector can work together. Jobs provide dignity and a sense of fulfillment. Direct cash handouts or similar schemes may have a short-term impact as research has shown in South American countries where such has been implemented as they do not reduce poverty. When more Africans join the middle class, they will establish companies that will hire workers. This is the best way for the continent to reduce poverty in a sustainable and meaningful manner.

Contador Harrison