Unemployment Pushing Angolans to Desperate Measures: “Together for a New Africa” Trainee

A section of participants at the ongoing training of tutors of 'Together for a New Africa' initiative of African youth. Credit: ACI Africa

Faced with the challenge of unemployment amid worrying poverty levels in Angola, young people in the Southern African country are resorting to desperate measures to cope, including drug abuse, a trainee at  Together for a New Africa (T4NA) has said.

Edmundo Francisco, a member of the initiative for young changemakers committed to shaping “a new Africa” told ACI Africa that given a chance, young people in Angola, which is famed for its richness in natural resources, are also willing to leave the country for search of greener pastures elsewhere.

“There are some young people who are doing everything they can do to leave the country. It's easy to hear young people on the streets saying, if I can just leave this country, I will just leave. But it's not easy to leave the country,” Edmundo said during the September 29 interview.

Speaking on the sidelines of the just ended training of T4NA tutors in Nairobi, Kenya, Edmundo said that young people in the country try to do everything to survive., adding, “They do menial jobs that keep them in a poverty cycle. Others end up using drugs.”

He said that the biggest employer in the country is the government and that many people apply for government jobs, even without the required qualifications. He said, “This, I think, paints the picture of desperation among young people in our country.”


In an April 2020 report, the World Bank indicated that poverty in Angola was at 32 percent nationally. The poverty rate in the densely populated rural areas was, according to the report, at 54 percent, three times that in urban areas, which was at 18 percent.

Edmundo found it baffling that while Angola has massive resources, with the bigger percentage of the population being the energetic youth and women, the people of God in the country continue to wallow in poverty amid “a lot of unemployment”.

“Angola has a lot of potential in terms of natural resources; oil, diamond, water and others. However, we have a lot of poverty. We have a lot of unemployment,” he said.

“Our mortality rate for children is really high. The malnutrition issues are really concerning. Resources are not well managed and distributed and there seems to exist a critical absence of equal opportunity for development,” he lamented.

Edmundo continued, “In our country, you find people who are so rich they save abroad. You also find a very striking number of children dying of hunger.” 

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Other challenges in Angola are to do with the country’s leadership, he said, noting that in the African country, politicians, especially, do not believe in democratic values.

According to the Angolan national, the country’s laws “don’t seem to have more power than the rulers.”

“We have a constitution that gives a lot of power to the President,” he said, and explained, “The president ends up being the leader of the political party that has the majority in the parliament. So, this implies that if that political party needs to implement any policy or approved budget, they do not necessarily need to negotiate with the opposition.”

He expressed regret that though there is initiative from the part of youth to study, there are no sufficient learning institutions in the country and that many children stay out of school every year.

Edmundo learnt about the T4NA, which is in its second phase through a colleague he said is connected to the Focolare Movement that supports the initiative.


It was T4NA’s values, which attracted Edmundo the most, especially the value of unity and the young people’s commitment to change Africa.

“The idea that the youth in Africa can more actively contribute to the change of their countries and continent’s situations is really beautiful. I believe it's possible,” he said.

“Africa has a background of leaders who really made a difference for our generation, who really seemed to have believed in values like Ubuntu and the whole idea that ‘we are because the others are as well’. And together, we are much stronger than just one,” he said.

He acknowledged that African countries have a lot of similarities in the political, social and economic challenges they face, as well as the ways in which the leaders in these countries address the challenges.

With a background in Psychology, Mr. Edmundo is a teacher with an experience in doing podcasts. He expressed his eagerness to share the experience he had gathered in his career with others on the T4NA initiative.

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Edmundo has been working with the youth at Youth Association for Solidarity since 1999, an opportunity he said has seen him grow his leadership skills.

“I have learned a lot about governance, advocacy, human rights and participation, and all those topics. And I think this experience can be of some value for this project,” he said, highlighting the skills he has gathered from the Community-based organization (CBO) that was formed as the country came out of war.

The youth at the CBO create citizenship awareness and work in other areas, including health, and social advocacy to increase the involvement of the community in the government's decisions. The organization has been supported by USAID, the American Embassy, among other development agencies.

“We allow the youth to explore their talents, mostly art, and try to encourage them to use their God-given gifts in music, dancing, to represent our culture, and make a living while at it,” Edmundo told ACI Africa during the September 29 interview. 

He said that T4NA gives participants “an interesting networking opportunity to connect with other Africans, to learn more about other countries to understand the common points, the common challenges and how we can exchange resources, experiences, knowledge and insights and encouragement.”

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.