Today is International Workers’ day, which is celebrated across many countries globally. The theme for this year is, “Social Dialogue, Economic Growth and National Cohesion”. The day has been kept aside to promote the requirements of eight-hour work day. In 2016, Kelvin Balogun, the President of Coca-Cola Eastern and Western Africa said that almost 50% of the 10 million graduates out of over 668 universities in Africa yearly do not get a job. Given this statistic, is this a day to celebrate or a sad reminder of the job situation on the continent?
Despite this, several African countries such as Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe among others recognise the 1st of May as Labour Day, workers’ day or as a public holiday.
Now, according to the UN World Population Prospects 2, 4 billion people are expected to be on the continent by 2050 and 1,3 billion of these are expected to come from Africa. World Bank analysts have said this growth is an enormous opportunity for economic growth which could go lead to a GDP increase of up to 15% on the continent. While there’s a lot that needs to be improved on the continent, one cannot ignore the strides that have been taken so far. In 2010 Agriculture was Africa’s largest economic sector, representing 15 percent of the continent’s total GDP, or more than $100 billion annually, we still have many people employed in the sector as well as the extractive sector and the service sector.
While we celebrate or wonder whether to celebrate, let us think of some of these workers who make our world a better place.