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Ending Youth Unemployment in Sub-Sahara Africa: Does ICT Development have any Role?

Author(s): 
Amaka G. Metu
Emmanuel Adujua
Ifeoma Eboh
Chimezie Ukeje
Theme: 
Leverage private sector for increasing youth employment and employability

The world has been taken over by digital economy leading to increase in the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). This raise the question of how it can be used effectively to tackle some of the economic problems facing developing countries. One of the most pressing economic challenges facing African is unemployment/or employability. Sub- Sahara Africa (SSA) is among the regions where about 60% of the young population are either unemployed or underemployed. This study, therefore, investigates the role of ICT development towards ending youth unemployment in SSA countries. Using dynamic panel modeling technique, the study employed instrumental variable (IV) regression, within the framework of the System Generalised Method of Moment (GMM) estimator, covering data from the 48 SSA countries from 1991 to 2018. The use of ICT was captured using mobile phone subscribers and number of internet users. The result show that mobile phone subscriptions significantly reduced youth unemployment, while internet usage had negative, but insignificant effect on youth unemployment in SSA. The implication of these findings is that greater ICT penetration and diffusion is necessary for job creation in the region. Based on these findings, the study recommends that both governments and private sectors in SSA countries should invest more on ICT infrastructures and provide the relevant platforms for ICT skill acquisition by the youths. In addition, youths entering the labour market should be encouraged to increase their ICT skill development.