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EXAMINATION OF YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT AND POLITICAL INSTABILITY IN CAMEROON

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EXAMINATION OF YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT AND POLITICAL INSTABILITY IN CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the study

Worldwide, the current financial and economic crisis has resulted in a significant increase in young unemployment. Prior to the crisis, the employment landscape, especially the issue of young unemployment, was already a significant cause for worry in the majority of nations. In Africa, young unemployment is worsened by the extra obstacles of a youth population that is much larger than in other countries, underdeveloped national labour markets, and consistently high levels of poverty. The region's population is mostly composed of individuals under the age of 30, with over 70 percent falling within this age group. Furthermore, just over 20 percent of the population consists of young individuals aged 15 to 24.Two In recent times, the North Africa area, known for having the highest rates of unemployment among young people globally, saw violent social revolutions in which young individuals played a crucial part. Multiple studies contend that the presence of high levels of teenage unemployment and underemployment poses a significant risk to the stability of countries, both in terms of their social, economic, and political aspects (Alisa, 2015). This remark aligns with the growing corpus of scholarship that explores the factors contributing to political instability and conflicts, including the work of Vermeulen (2015) among others.  As to the official UN definition, youth refers to those aged fifteen to twenty-four, including both ends of the spectrum. The ILO definition of unemployment is now the most prevalent and commonly accepted term. As per the above definition, the unemployment rate refers to the percentage of the workforce who have worked for less than one hour during a certain time and are actively seeking and available for employment. Youth unemployment refers to those between the ages of 15 and 24 who are currently not employed but are actively seeking job, as seen in Cameroon (Oyesanya, Lopez-Moringo, and Dutta, 2015). Youth unemployment is a significant policy concern for most African nations, including Cameroon, irrespective of their level of development.

The information pertaining to unemployment among young individuals is extracted from the 7th edition of the Key Indicators of the Labour Market (KILM). The Department of Statistics of the International Labour Office in Geneva, Switzerland, has generated this database. It consolidates data from several sources, including household surveys and labour force surveys. However, in developing nations such as Cameroon, the availability of household surveys or labour force surveys is very limited, particularly due to the country's low income levels. As a result, each nation has a restricted amount of observations available (Tejvan, 2017). The issue of youth unemployment in Cameroon is a significant problem, since a substantial section of the population between the ages of 15 and 35 have difficulties in finding profitable job possibilities. Notwithstanding the efforts of the government and many partners to tackle this issue, the unemployment rate among young individuals persists at a disproportionately elevated level in comparison to other demographic cohorts. Cameroon has had periods of political instability marked by social turmoil, demonstrations, and conflicts arising from many origins. These factors include dissatisfaction with the systems of government, the perception of specific ethnic or regional groups being excluded, obstacles to democratic procedures, and complaints about socio-economic inequalities (Mary, 2018). The interaction of political power dynamics, distribution of resources, and socioeconomic disparities has resulted in an unstable political environment, presenting obstacles to the country's stability and goals for growth. The government's reactions to criticism and opposition have sometimes worsened tensions, resulting in increased polarisation and instability. The connection between young unemployment and political instability in Cameroon is intricate and multifaceted. The issue of youth unemployment not only poses an economic obstacle but also gives rise to sentiments of disappointment, marginalisation, and dissatisfaction, especially among educated young individuals who aspire for improved prospects (Abé Ndjié, Atangana Ondoa & Ngoa, 2019). The lack of capacity to get significant work may exacerbate societal dissatisfaction and animosity towards the government, particularly when combined with views of corruption, nepotism, and ineffectiveness in public governance. Young people often act as catalysts for political transformation, since their complaints and mobilisation may incite demonstrations, civil disorder, and calls for political restructuring (Bettencourt, 2020).

In addition, jobless young people may be vulnerable to being recruited by radical or extremist organisations, which might exacerbate the instability of the country's socio-political structure. The absence of economic opportunities may lead to social unrest, elevated crime rates, and increased migratory pressures, intensifying tensions within communities and burdening government resources. Political instability may worsen teenage unemployment by interrupting economic activity, discouraging investment, and weakening trust in the business climate (Froneberg, 2019). Gaining a comprehensive understanding of the complex relationship between young unemployment and political instability is essential for developing successful policy interventions that seek to promote socio-economic growth, encourage inclusive governance, and improve stability in Cameroon. To tackle the issue of young unemployment, a comprehensive strategy is needed that includes reforms in education, efforts to enhance skills, programmes to create jobs, and measures to encourage entrepreneurship and creativity (Hair, Black, Babin & Anderson, 2022). Simultaneously, it is crucial to undertake measures to enhance democratic institutions, encourage openness and accountability, and tackle complaints in order to reduce political instability and promote social unity. Cameroon may work towards a more affluent and secure future for its population by tackling the underlying reasons for young unemployment and fostering inclusive government systems. Therefore, the researcher sought to examine youth unemployment and political instability in Cameroon.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Cameroon, similar to many other nations, has the dual obstacles of young unemployment and political instability. Despite attempts to tackle these problems, the enduring presence of elevated levels of young unemployment combined with intermittent episodes of political turmoil presents a substantial risk to the socio-economic structure and political steadiness of the country. Nonetheless, the precise correlation between the occurrence of young unemployment and the occurrence of political instability is not well comprehended, especially within the unique circumstances of Cameroon (Owain & Maslin, 2018).

The objective of this study is to explore the complex relationship between young unemployment and political instability in Cameroon. The main objective is to reveal the fundamental elements, processes, and causal pathways that connect various events. This study aims to get a thorough grasp of the intricate connection between young unemployment and political instability in Cameroon by addressing these issues (Owain & Maslin, 2018). In the end, the results will help create specific policies and initiatives that will promote social and economic inclusion, empower young people, and encourage long-term political stability in the nation. Hence, the study seeks to examine youth unemployment and political instability in Cameroon.

1.3 Objective of the study

The broad objective of the study is to examine youth unemployment and political instability in Cameroon. The specific objectives is as follows

To examine the socio-economic factors contributing to youth unemployment in Cameroon.

To analyze the relationship between youth unemployment and political instability in Cameroon.

To propose policy recommendations for addressing youth unemployment and mitigating political instability in Cameroon.

1.4 Research questions

The following questions have been prepared to guide the study

What are the primary socio-economic factors influencing youth unemployment rates in Cameroon?

Is there a relationship between youth unemployment and political instability in Cameroon?

What are the policy initiatives aimed at reducing youth unemployment in Cameroon, and what are their effectiveness?

1.5 Significance of the study

The findings  of the study will be significant to the government and policy makers as it will contribute to the development of targeted policy interventions and strategies aimed at fostering socio-economic inclusion, enhancing youth empowerment, and promoting long-term political stability in the country

Academia: the findings of the study will be significant to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature

1.6 Scope of the study

The study focuses on youth unemployment and political instability in Cameroon. Empirically, the study will examine the socio-economic factors contributing to youth unemployment in Cameroon, analyze the relationship between youth unemployment and political instability in Cameroon and propose policy recommendations for addressing youth unemployment and mitigating political instability in Cameroon.

1.7 Limitations of the study

Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview), which is why the researcher resorted to a moderate choice of sample size. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.

1.8 Definition of terms

Unemployment: a situation where a person actively searches for employment but is unable to find work

Political instability: A condition characterized by uncertain or volatile political circumstances, such as conflicts, governance issues, or changes in government. 


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