The Future of Work in Africa

Hosted by the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa and Movemeback

Online public event


Professor Kenneth Amaeshi

Professor Kenneth Amaeshi

Kojo Boakye

Kojo Boakye

Oyin Solebo

Oyin Solebo

Sharmi Surianarain

Sharmi Surianarain


Professor Tim Allen

Professor Tim Allen


Professor Tim Allen

Dr David Luke

Africa is a 1.2 billion person market on the cusp of dramatic and transformative growth. It is adopting new technology and fostering new entrepreneurial ventures to address challenges to its development. At the same time, it is the continent with the largest rate of population growth with the number estimated to double by 2050.

With this growing population, there is a challenge of addressing youth unemployment as it is estimated that 18 million new jobs need to be created annually in order to compensate for the youth that will be entering into the labour market. Currently 3 million are made annually. Along with this, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of work on the continent has changed. The tourism and service sector has been hit the worst, and employers are looking for new ways to increase productivity, engage with new customers, and grow their business. In order to do this new ideas and skills are needed from employees to promote this transition and to attract investors that will help unlock Africa's economic future. With this, new conversations are occurring around what measures African nations need to take to address the new terrain in their countries. Many innovative organisations are working to establish pathways for young people into employment and to help Africa capitalise on their fast-growing economies. In order to meet the needs of the coming decade to build profitable, and sustainable enterprises, executives need to meet challenges with innovation, and job-seekers will need to develop the skill-sets necessary to meet the unmet market demands.

Meet our speakers and chair

Kenneth Amaeshi (@kenamaeshi) is the Chair in Business and Sustainable Development and Director of the Sustainable Business Initiative at Edinburgh. He joined the University of Edinburgh in 2010 following a career in management consultancy. Kenneth's research interest currently focuses on sector-level policies for sustainability and sustainability strategy in organisations. He has an expert level knowledge of developing and emerging economies. He has an extensive network in Africa. He was recently a Scholar in Residence at the National Pension Commission, Nigeria, and is currently a Visiting Professor of Strategy and Governance at the Lagos Business School, Nigeria.

Kojo Boakye is Facebook’s Director of Public Policy for Africa. He’s an experienced ICT for Development Practitioner, with 15+ years’ experience working with governments, fixed-line and mobile operators, development partners, online service providers, content developers and civil society organisations. Before joining Facebook, he was the Deputy Director of the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), and the Head Research and Consultancy at the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) prior to that.

Oyin Solebo (@OyinSolebo) is a co-founder of the organisation MoveMeBack. Movemeback aspires to drive positive economic and social growth in Africa by providing a platform through which individuals, organisations and institutions across the world interact and partner with Africa. Oyin was previously an Investment Associate at Goldman Sachs and a Strategy Consultant for Roland Berger's Sub-Saharan Africa, Financial Services Team.

Sharmi Surianarain serves as the Chief Impact Officer, Harambee Youth Accelerator in South Africa. Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator develops African solutions for the global challenge of youth unemployment. Sharmi brings extensive experience in human capital management, education, and facilitating links to employment across Africa, India, and the United States. She served as Vice President of Lifelong Engagement at the African Leadership Academy (ALA). Sharmi is an Aspen African Leadership Initiative Fellow, Class of 2020 and sits on the Boards of Ongoza, Metis and is on the Advisory Council for the NextGen Ecosystem Builders Africa 2020.

David Luke (@DavidLukeTrade) has recently joined LSE as a Professor in Practice in the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa (FLCA) and oversees the new Africa Trade Policy Programme at the FLCA. He is Coordinator of the African Trade Policy Centre at the UN Economic Commission for Africa with the rank of a director at the Commission. Prior to joining ECA in 2014, he served as UNDP trade policy adviser in Southern Africa and Geneva and also as Senior Economist and Chief of Trade at the Organization for African Unity/African Union Commission, and as an Associate Professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada.

Tim Allen is the inaugural Director of the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa, and is a Professor in Development Anthropology in the Department of International Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

More about this event

As part of the Africa Talks series by the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa (FLCA) and in collaboration with Movemeback, a community connecting overseas leaders, influencers, talent and organisations to unique, exclusive and exciting high potential opportunities on the African continent, this event marks the announcement of the AEP Careers Transition Lab initiative launched by Africa Engagement Programme at FLCA.

The Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa (@AfricaAtLSE) promotes independent academic research and teaching; open and issue-oriented debate; and evidence-based policy making. The Centre connects social sciences disciplines and works in partnership with Africa to bring African voices to global debates.

This event forms part of LSE’s Shaping the Post-COVID World initiative, a series of debates about the direction the world could and should be taking after the crisis.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSECOVID19

Podcast & Video

A podcast of this event is available to download from The Future of Work in Africa.

A video of this event is available to watch at The Future of Work in Africa.

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