URBANIZATION AND EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES: A CASE OF YOUTH IN MOGADISHU-SOMALIA

Ali Farah Abdullahi    

Introduction

According to the Action Aid (2012) Youth under 18 years old are predicted to make up 60% of urban populations by 2030 and Youth are over-represented among the urban poor. Most urban youth, particularly youth Migrants, live in unplanned settlement areas, often in squalid conditions and are vulnerable to high levels of unemployment. Urban areas are characterized by high competition for jobs, and the Sectoral composition of economic growth hugely influences the distribution of benefits and Costs across urban populations. The non-poor tend to cluster in formal employment while Poor residents work in more insecure and very low paid informal sector activities. Young People are of course not a homogeneous group. Age, gender, and personal background mediate aspirations and opportunities of urban living.

Youth unemployment in Mogadishu is one of the highest in the world standing at 70% (USAID, 2016). Thought There are a lot of development projects which ruining in the city, while, over 70% of the Somali population are youth that resulted rural-urban migration, particularly youth in order to get jobs and developing their living standards but the government has failed to come up and implement youth employment strategies like skills training, providing youths with internship opportunities, job placements and provision of youths with capital to start businesses (USAID, 2016). Despite embracing youth employment strategies, youth unemployment in Mogadishu is still high. The current paper will attempt to identify the challenges of urbanization for employment opportunities and ways forward on urbanization for employment opportunities.

The History of Urbanization for Employment Opportunities

Globally, many countries around the world provide income assistance to support unemployed youth until labor market and economic conditions improve. Although this support is strictly related to obligations in terms of active job search and training, it has led to an emerging debate on whether or not it creates dependency among the youth and has a detrimental effect on them (Youth Action International. 2011). In September 2014, David Cameron announced that he would cut housing and employment benefits for 18- to 21-year-olds by £3,000 to £23,000 to reduce dependency on government assistance and redirect funding to targeted programs for increased learning and training opportunities. Canada’s economy has braved the global recession better than many others. But last year, 14.3 percent of Canadian youth were unemployed, up from 11.2 percent in 2007 and double the current national jobless rate of 7.2 percent, according to Statistics Canada. That amounts to the biggest gap between youth and adult unemployment rates since 1977. The average post-secondary graduate carries $28,000 in student debt. The unemployment rate for Canadian young people is about double that of the rest of the population (Youth Action International, 2011).

 

Due to the great recession in Europe, in 2009, only 15 per cent of males and 10 per cent of females between ages 16–19 in were employed full-time. The youth employment rate in the European Union reached an all-time low of 32.9 percent in the first half of 2011. Of the countries in the European Union Germany sticks outs with its low rate of 7.9%. Some critics argue that the decrease of the youth unemployment began even before the economic downturn, countries such as Greece and Spain (Youth Build Somalia, 2014). Great Britain and some European countries were the first countries, which become urbanized. They urbanized relatively slowly, which allowed governments time to plan and provide facilities for the needs of increasing urban populations (Youth Build Somalia, 2014). So, a city itself is not a new phenomenon. Only the present explosive and rapid growth is a new unique feature. In the year 1800, over 97 percent of the world’s population were rural. Hundred years after this, still only 5.5 percent of the world population lived in cities, but already 2000 slightly over half of the world’s population lived in cities (Long, 2012).

 

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, urban growth was occurring mainly in the developed nations. The reason for this was the spread of industrialization and the associated rapid increase in the use of fossil fuels. These days the urbanization is much faster than those days and it is most rapid in the Third World countries. Today the largest and fastest growing cities are in developing countries, because of the new urban-industrial development (Girardet, 2001).

 

In Somalia, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO) definition, Somalia’s measured unemployment rates are relatively low for the region though they have been increasing over time (from 1.9 percent in 2005/06, to 3.6 percent in 2009/10, and recently to 5.1 percent in 2012). At the same time, the characteristics of the unemployed vary widely. Urban youth are more likely to be unemployed (12 percent) than rural youth (3 percent) (Azeng et al., 2013). In addition, female youth are twice as likely to be unemployed compared to male youth. Interestingly, the report notes that unemployment increases with the level of education attained: Unemployment is lower among persons with no education and primary education, and higher among those with secondary education and above.

This is not to negate the importance of education as it is widely known that education is a significant factor in securing good employment over time however, the more educated are biased towards wage-paying formal jobs, which are harder to find. Indeed, persons with education above the secondary level are more likely to be in wage employment (59.1 percent) compared to those with primary education (18 percent), and their earnings tend to be higher (Azeng et al., 2013). These low unemployment statistics may appear counterintuitive given the prevalent concern about youth unemployment in Somalia. The low measured unemployment figures do not necessarily signify a healthy labor market. For instance, a large proportion of youth have given up the search for jobs and are more likely to be discouraged than unemployed, and the official measured unemployment does not capture this (Azeng et al., 2013).

 

The major challenges of urbanization for employment opportunities

Youth unemployment in Mogadishu is recognized as a significant challenge to Somalia’s development, and the youth unemployment rate has been cited as high as 82% (MGSLD, 2014). With a persistently strong population growth rate, this problem may only worsen if there are not sufficient and effective interventions put into place. Furthermore, youth unemployment and idleness can lead to crime, violence, political revolts, drug abuse, and other destructive behaviors, which pose a problem for the health and safety of all of society.

It is crucial to study the current actions of government and civil society organizations so that suggestions can be made for improvements to address this issue.  Given the rapid growth of the Somalia population three-quarters of the population are below the age of 30 years coupled with the fact that the youth are getting better educated through higher access to primary and secondary education, a stronger focus on job creation for this cohort of people cannot be overemphasized. Causes of youth unemployment are believed to be multifaceted, ranging from low levels of urbanization, inadequate investment, supply side of jobs, institution insufficient employment skills for instance youth possess skills that are not compatible with available jobs) and high rates of labor force growth at 4.7% per annum.  Fresh graduates lacking experience often find themselves trapped in a vicious cycle. They often lack the experience needed to fill a job opening, which prevents them from getting employed.

Thus, the job-searching period for them becomes considerably longer than for experienced workers, which leads to gaps in employment history, loss of skills and productivity, and harms their future work prospects. Young people struggling to find permanent jobs are bound to accept temporary and intern positions.

 

Ways forward

The developing world, are experienced a rapid progress in the urbanization other hand those countries are faced with shortage of jobs as result of people to apply for government –funded programs and benefits although public and private institutions cannot produce enough jobs to meet the request of fast-growing residents in underdeveloped countries. The problem of poverty in Somalia is increasingly manifesting itself as an urban phenomenon.

Mogadishu, being the primary city of Somalia has experienced several dilemma in a particularly concentrated form where, besides the natural population growth (the youths), it has been absorbing more people from rural areas since long before civil war arose in 1991. This paper will identify few areas for effective urbanization for employment opportunities.

First, the government should bring for valid strategies which help to manage the problems associated with urbanization include, traffic problems, high employment rates in inner city areas, high populations density, inadequate infrastructure, lack of affordable housing, slum creation, crime and poverty.

Second, the government and other money holders should make an adequate investment in order youth to get jobs.

Third, to building institution that provide youth for sufficient employment skill and connecting job seekers and employee in order to reduce job-searching period because fresh graduates lacking experience often find themselves trapped in a vicious cycle. They often lack the experience needed to fill a job opening, which prevents them from getting employed. Thus, the job-searching period for them becomes considerably longer than for experienced workers, which leads to gaps in employment history, loss of skills and productivity, and harms their future work prospects.

Fourth Young people should accepting temporary and intern positions instead they are struggling to find permanent jobs. Finally, this paper suggests to promote and implement gender mainstreaming and equality that young women can provide opportunities and rights in terms of resource allocation, distribution of benefits and access of services as equal to the young men.

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