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Employment statistics are funny--Tapiwa Mashakada

by Stephen Jakes
06 Jan 2017 at 04:46hrs | Views
MDC-T senior official Tapiwa Mashakada has said Zimbabwe's official statistics from the Zimstats put the unemployment figure at 12% which is very funny compared to the real situation on the ground where millions of people are jobless.

He said many would wonder how on earth could that be possible with such a huge army of school leavers, cross borders and vendors.

"The catch is on definitions of employment and unemployment. In labour economics, self employment is considered as employment whereas in the normal parlance only formal employment would be regarded as employment. That is why in ordinary terms its the norm for analysts to put Zimbabwe unemployment figures at 80 to 90%," Mashakada said.

"That is why it is easy to lie with statistics depending on the objective and the targeted user. In classical economics vending and self jobs imply disguised unemployment. But i think its high time entrepreneurship and all income generating activities are considered as gainful employment. Consider the fact that 90% of the Zimbabwean population is engaged either in Agriculture or the informal sector. How do they survive if they are not gainfully employed? How do they survive if they are financially excluded?"

He said he  thinks textbook definitions of employment and unemployment in Africa need to be revisited.

"African economies have structurally changed. Population growth is outpacing GDP growth. The young population is booming. There is no way re-industrialization will absorb the army of the unemployed. The future of jobs in Africa is in small entrepreneurship activities , commercial activities, the knowledge economy and agriculture not even manufacturing or mining. The jobs model has clearly mutated," he said.

"So what matters for the population? The answer is simple. People want economic security, space and freedom to provide for their families. Access to factors of production then becomes an issue. Land and capital are the key drivers in a wealth accumulation model. This nexus is often missed in economic planning. But land on its own is dead capital. Just as good as qualifications without skills. Africa's growth and employment lies in irrigation."

Source - Byo24News