Burundi youth grow restless from lack of jobs

Job Seekers

Young people in Burundi are growing restless with the lack of jobs on the market.

Burundi is included in the 15 countries around the world with the highest unemployment rates, according to data from the UN's Labor Agency.

With a population of over 9 million people, and a large youth population, around 14% of the population is unemployed.

The Burundi government, a long time recruiter, does not have enough jobs to go around.

Jocelyne Sambira has more.

SFX market

The surroundings of the central market in Burundi's capital Bujumbura are always swarming with hundreds of young people in quest of jobs.

Rows of young people, both uneducated and university graduates hang out on a busy intersection in the middle of town.

When a car slows down in their direction, they push and shove to competing for business.

SFX market

The Burundi Labor Ministry has always been seen as the major job provider in a country where the private sector remains a side hub.

Burundi Labor Minister, Annonciate Sendazirasa, insists there's more to do than simply create jobs.

"Here in Burundi, the problem of unemployment does not rest on the government alone. It has to do with the Burundian mindset. In Europe where I lived quite a number of years, I used to do small jobs that allowed me to make ends meet. Like agricultural engineers for example. They can set up their own small farms, make some money and even create employment for others."

Salvatore Nzirubusa has a Bachelor's degree from the University of Burundi. He disagrees agree with the Labor Minister.

He says being creative was one thing, but getting funds to carry out a project was another.

"If the government wants us to create our own small businesses, it has to give us the means. There are some micro-credit organizations giving small loans, but the government should fund more of these organizations if it wants to spur entrepreneurship".

Paul Nkunzimana, a lecturer at faculty of Psychology at the University of Burundi, also believes the problem of unemployment has nothing to do with the mindset.

"There's no link whatsoever between a people's mindset and a social problem such unemployment. It's not because the unemployed do not want to work, it's not because they do not have ideas, it's simply because they do not have material support."

The industrial sector is almost non-existent after more than a decade of civil war.

For now, jobs continue to be scarce on the market and the youth in Burundi is growing restless.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 2’12″

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December 2017
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