Digital Jobs Africa is a Rockefeller Foundation initiative that seeks to impact the lives of 1 million people in six countries in Africa by catalyzing sustainable Information and Communications Technology enabled employment opportunities for African youth who would not otherwise have an opportunity for sustainable employment. The Foundation’s work will deliver impact at two levels—through improving the well-being of those employed, their families and communities as well as influencing broader adoption of inclusive business practices that lead to job creation for youth at scale in ICT-enabled sectors. The work will be led out of the Foundation’s Africa Regional office in Kenya, and will focus on Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and South Africa. The initiative will span 7 years and leverage significant funds and support from other stakeholders with an $83 million budget.
Africa has the youngest and fastest growing youth population in the world today. The number of people between age 15 and 24 is expected to double to 400 million by 2045. n By 2050, the continent will have a larger workingage population than India or China. n Youth under the age of 25 represent 62 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s unemployed population, and nearly three-fourths live on less than $2 a day. McKinsey’s World and Work report says that there will be an estimated shortage of 45 million medium-skilled workers in developing countries to meet the demand of labor intensive industries—showing that job creation is not keeping pace with the demands of a growing youth population.
Simultaneously, there have been transformative developments in Africa’s Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector in the last decade, which is expected to reach $150 billion by 2016. New technologies are creating new types of work along with cost-effective ways to distribute work across the globe. For example, the global Business Processing Outsourcing and Information Technology Outsourcing sectors are expected to reach $574 billion by 2015—representing one of many ways to create digital job opportunities that build skills for a young population and allows them to increase their income between 40 and 200 percent, all while giving businesses the potential to reduce their costs by up to 40 percent.