The informal sector and youth unemployment : prospects for labour absorption in Zambia.
The thesis discusses characteristics of youth unemployment
in Zambia and the prospects of absorption of youth labour in
the urban informal sector. This is done on the basis of
both primary survey and secondary sources. The informal
sector given the right support has the potential to generate
economic growth. Unemployment is severe among the youth who
are newcomers to the labour market.
The problem of labour absorption in Zambia is investigated
especially since the fall in copper prices and structural
adjustment which has not created jobs. A combination of
inadequacies of domestic policies and international
recession have certainly contributed to the economic
decline. The government mismanaged the initial copper boom.
The country has relied on a single export commodity, copper.
The employment problem has to be crucial in the context of a
dual economy. Many variants e.g. population growth, rural
urban migration and the paper qualification syndrome explain
the supply of labour. The population is skewed in favour of
the youth and most migrants are educated in search of an
urban job. This helps to explain the high unemployment rate
among the youth.
The thesis concentrates on formal and informal sectors as
evidence of dualism. Formal sector prospects are limited
for well known reasons e.g. shortages of resources, fall in
copper prices, price distortions, import substitution
policies, development patterns and capital intensive
technology which restrict employment potential. On the
other hand, the informal sector which is labour intensive
appear to have employment potential. Lack of minimal skill
and capital among the youth, which are prerequisite in the
informal sector act entry as barriers. This is in
particular substantiated in the thesis on labour demand.
The youth's views towards the informal appear to be
negative. The mismatch between the youth's education and
expectations explain this attitude. The possession of a
school certificate raises expectations which make youngsters
withhold their labour during their first job search. The
youth desire white collar employment.
The approach adopted is qualitative rather than quantitative
because of nature and limitation of data. For instance,
unemployment is not without statistical and definitional