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Why We Do This

Alarming Graduate Unemployment

The rate of graduate unemployment across Africa is quite disturbing. According to a 2014 British Council report on “higher education and job crisis in Africa”, it takes a university graduate five years on average to secure a job in Kenya. In Ghana, 1 in 3 graduates end up unemployed. In Nigeria, 15.3% of youth with advanced education are unemployed. Today, over 1800 colleges in Africa churn out 10 million graduates every year, but over half of them have no hope of jobs, let alone jobs that pay good wages, provide a good measure of job security or offer skills development opportunities. Today, too many of Africa’s talented graduates see no option but to travel overseas and settle for menial jobs (assuming they are lucky to find one in today’s world). In Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa, it is not uncommon to see young people who were top graduating students riding Okada or Keke Napep or staying jobless for many years after graduation.

The World’s Highest Population of Youth

Currently, Africa has the largest population of young people in the world and by 2040 will be home to the world’s largest labor force with an estimated working population of 1 billion. In the last two decades, student enrollment into higher education has more than doubled on the continent. However, African graduates are twice as likely to be unemployable. Our education systems (both formal and informal) do very little to teach the skills necessary to obtain or maintain a job, let alone contribute productively to work or become entrepreneurial. A 2016 report by International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity notes that without new approaches to address the shortcomings in our educational system and equip our students with required graduate skills and creative capacities, by 2030 millions of African youths (the world’s future workforce) will be unemployable and unproductive.

Record Number of Educated African Professionals in the Diaspora

There exists today thousands of well-educated African professionals trained in some of the best schools in the world and working highly skilled jobs in Europe and America. Consider for example Nigerian immigrants, which make up the largest group of Sub-Saharan African immigrants in the United States. As of 2020, 59% percent of them have at least a bachelor’s degree; a number that ranks higher than those of countries such as South Korea, China, Germany and the United Kingdom. In addition, 54% are in highly skilled job positions in business, management, science and the arts. A considerable number of African professionals in the diaspora want to contribute to lifting up the continent. They desire to be role models, share their experiences and provide guidance to young students at home, but do not know how. VarsityMentor provides a formal and scalable structure for realizing this desire, and more importantly, with an assurance of a quality outcome.