#Economy #Jobs #Unemployment #Africa #SouthAfrica
Denys Bédarride
19 January 2023 Last update on Thursday, January 19, 2023 At 8:25 AM

For 14 years, South Africa has experienced a steady rise in unemployment. Initiatives are being implemented to lower the rate. However, authorities admit that the country still has a long way to go and that more work needs to be done to meet this challenge.

1.5 million jobs were created in South Africa during the year 2022, according to the South African presidency. The information comes from the presidential spokesperson’s weekly statement to the media published on Thursday, January 12.

This performance is the result, according to the authorities, of the structural reforms implemented in the country, mainly the presidential program to stimulate employment. The objective of these reforms is to increase growth, attract investment and create more jobs. The presidency estimates that its employment stimulation program “affected more than one million participants”. In the third quarter of the year alone, the total employment rate increased by 10.4%, the briefing note reveals.

These government reforms have affected several sectors such as energy, information technology, ports, railways and water, among others. They aim to improve the business operating environment and strengthen South Africa’s competitiveness as an investment destination, a key pillar for stimulating growth and creating jobs. In addition to these reforms, the authorities have launched a mixed financing program of $2 billion. This program, piloted by the Ministry of Agriculture, makes it possible to “respond to the many challenges faced by new farmers”.

“The Presidential Job Boosting Initiative, launched as part of the Covid-19 shock recovery plan, enables subsistence farmers and smallholders to buy the inputs they need (about 100,000 farmers were helped). This intervention has contributed to improving household food production,” the briefing note states.

According to the World Bank, the economic recovery of South Africa, hard hit by Covid-19, is slower than expected (1.9% in 2022). Although there was a rebound in employment in the first half of 2022, the institution believes that the labor market situation remains difficult in the country. Rising unemployment reached an unprecedented rate of 35.3% in the fourth quarter of 2021. This has had the effect of limiting household welfare performance and stemming “progress in reducing unemployment”. poverty, accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic”.

It should be noted that the country experienced a drop in unemployment of 10.9 percentage points between 2002 and 2008, dropping from 33.3% to 22.4%. But since then, the employment curve has adopted an upward trajectory, rising from 22.4% in 2008 to 33.9% in the second quarter of 2022. The Bank estimates that young people aged 15 to 24 are the most hit by unemployment, with a rate of around 66.5%.

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