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What's it like to be unemployed in Niger?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 - 01:42

Officially the unemployment rate in Niger is less than 3 percent but most accept it's much higher. As Sonia Legg reports, the African country - one of the poorest in the world - is hoping to get a share of EU migrant money to help tackle the problem.

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Hassane Soumaila comes to the job centre in Niamey every day. But in two years he's had no luck. His misfortune - living in one of Africa's poorest countries. (SOUNDBITE) (French) UNEMPLOYED YOUNG MAN, HASSANE SOUMAILA SAYING: "Even when you have a degree, you just sit around waiting for a job. There is no job and there are no job offers for young people, it's really difficult to find work." The official unemployment rate in Niger in 2016 was 2.6 percent In 2013 the World Bank put youth unemployment at 6.7 percent. But even officials accept today's rate is much, much higher. (SOUNDBITE) (French) DIRECTOR GENERAL NATIONAL EMPLOYMENT PROMOTION AGENCY (ANPE) MAIYAKI MAMANE SAYING: "We can only talk about the figures provided by the national bureau of statistics but that's not the reality in this country, because unemployment cannot be 2.6 percent." Security is big issue for Niger. Boko Harem is on its border with Nigeria and al Qaeda groups roam the vast deserts. The only up side - the private security industry is booming, with more than 200 firms. (SOUNDBITE) (French) TRAINEE, BOUZOU ABDOUL KARIM SAYING: "I found myself unemployed, after I finished my Masters degree. I tried to do small jobs and looked for internships but I couldn't find any. Then I found a job as a security guard, so I am slowly getting on my feet." Niger does have rich resources - its uranium has attracted billions of dollars of investment. But falling commodity prices have hit the mining sector and many jobless have headed to Europe. That's something the European Union is trying to curb. It's set aside 610 million euros to help create opportunities for people in their home countries. The money can't come soon enough for many in Niger.

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What's it like to be unemployed in Niger?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 - 01:42