SOUTH Africa has the third highest unemployment rate on the African continent - and the highest youth unemployment rate — according to statistics for 2014 compiled by Good Governance Africa (GGA).

The organisation said its conclusion was based on statistics obtained from Statistics South Africa and the International Labour Organisation.

"Only Mauritania, at 31%, and Lesotho, at 26%, had higher unemployment rates than South Africa in 2014," GGA said.

"South Africa is the only country in Africa where more than half of 15 to 24-year-olds are jobless. Its 52.6% youth unemployment rate is the continent’s highest. Libya and Mauritania had the second and third highest rates, at 48.9% and 46.6%, respectively."

GGA said that Rwanda had the continents lowest youth unemployment rate of 0.7% followed by Benin and Guinea, both at 1.7%.

"South Africa’s youth unemployment rate jumped 16% from 45.3% in 2000, while youth joblessness in 31 African countries declined between 2000 and 2014. Countries with the largest drops were Ghana, Algeria and Tanzania, with decreases of 80%, 61% and 38% respectively," GGA said.

Researcher Karen Hasse said: “While many African countries are reducing youth unemployment, South Africa’s youth remain trapped, dependent on hand-outs and unable to improve their lives. Without better education and business-friendly policies to encourage economic growth and employment, the country’s youth face a hopeless future. This could lead to escalating unrest. Last week’s xenophobic riots are partly a reflection of this high joblessness.”


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