This Africa Day consider these African human capital and labour statistics

On Sunday, 25th May 2014, it is World Africa Day. Originally this day was the commemoration and celebration of the founding of the African Union in 1963. Today it also celebrates Africa’s richness in diversity, people, resources and progress towards economic growth and democracy.

Wherever investors and companies are discussing growth and expansion, Africa is at the centre stage. This large continent in which the US, China and India could fit in with space to spare for a few European countries; a population in excess of a billion and economic growth around 5,5% in 2014 and beyond is becoming very attractive to investors. The interest is not only in the resources sector. International and home grown brands are expanding across the continent. i.e.; Shoprite, Makro/Massmart, Standard Bank, Econet, MTN, Dangote, to name a few.

The fast economic growth rates and increased investment have implications regarding talent management. The demand for better qualified and skilled talent will increase exponentially. At the same time employment levels are on the increase, inequality widens whilst expectations rise. This does not bode well for future industrial relations.

The point is, in order to conduct better business in African countries, much better knowledge will be required of a respective country’s Human Capital (HC) and Labour force. That is, at both a national/macro level and also organisational level. Present and future HC trends need to be analysed and interpreted for the organisation specifically.

For the last 15 months a team of researchers at Knowledge Resources have been working to compile a series of in-depth and comprehensive reports on the human capital and labour forces in African countries. The focus is on the demographics of the labour force, economically-active population and specifically education and skills levels. And here are a few trends that’s been evident in our research in publishing the African Human Capital and Labour Reports:

  • 46% of the adult working population in Kenya has only a primary education, lower or no education at all.
  • The Kenyan economically active population increased by 32,5% since 2005, adding an average 500 000 new entrants to the job market every year since 2010. In the years between 2009 and 2011 only 94 000 jobs were created in the formal sector!
  • Nigeria outperformed South Africa on 5 of the 8 indicators related to labour markets efficiency as surveyed by the World Economic Forum i.e. “Cooperation in labour-employer relations” and “Flexibility of wage determination” just to name two.
  • Student enrolments at Universities in Zambia increased by over 80% in the decade between 2000 and 2010. This fast growth in student numbers is putting tremendous pressure on the quality of the higher education system.
  • In Ghana there were only 122 000 managers employed out of a total economically active population of over 10 million people.
  • In Tanzania only 6.5% of the people employed are in the formal sector of the economy.
  • Total student enrolments at Universities in Ghana increased by 55% between 2008 and 2012, but these enrolled in the sciences faculty grew by only 10%.
  • The diaspora is increasingly being a source for high level talent. It is more cost efficient than employing expatriates.
  • Wage and salary levels are relatively low, but so are productivity levels.

All in all the challenge for Human Resource departments will be to realise that each African country is very different to the next, each with its own Human Capital challenges. A better understanding and knowledge of the Human Capital trends in these countries will improve HR and Talent Management Strategies. Also, companies will have to focus more resources in developing local talent and provide long-term commitment to contributing through social responsibility programmes that focus on basic needs and services in education, health care and skills building.
What is clear from the African Human Capital and Labour Reports is that there is incredible potential for further growth and development. It is now really just a matter of unlocking the Human Capital potential of the continent.

To download a brochure on the African Human Capital and Labour Reports click here now.

For any queries regarding these these reports please contact:

Zia Attlee: or (011) 706 6009, or
Sharon Crous: or (011) 706 6009


One thought on “This Africa Day consider these African human capital and labour statistics

  1. Thanks for this information, certainly an eye opener regarding the skills situation in Africa, puts Africa into perspective ref global progress on education and human capital development

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