African Countries with the Highest Unemployment Rates in 2023
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Entrepreneurs - October 24, 2023

African Countries with the Highest Unemployment Rates in 2023

Economic challenges have led to soaring unemployment rates across several African countries, painting a concerning picture for the continent’s workforce. 

While there are a multitude of factors contributing to this trend, some nations are grappling more than others. 

Based on recent statistics, it’s evident that a number of African countries are facing unprecedented levels of joblessness. Join us as we highlight some African countries with high unemployment rates.

Source: Statista

South Africa

Leading the pack with a staggering unemployment rate, South Africa registered the highest figure at 29.95 per cent. 

The nation’s economic backbone has been strained by numerous challenges including socio-political unrest, power shortages, and a shrinking manufacturing sector.

According to reports, rolling power blackouts have been a major constraint in the last decade. This constraint has slashed the country’s growth potential and hurt businesses of all sizes.


This East African nation, though smaller in size and population, has an alarming unemployment rate of 27.95 per cent. 

The country’s dependence on its port and limited diversification in the job market are some reasons for this high figure. Djibouti has a harsh climate, a largely unskilled labour force, and limited natural resources.

Its economy is commanded by the services sector, providing services as both a transit port for the region and as an international transhipment and refuelling centre.


Formerly known as Swaziland, Eswatini has an unemployment rate of 24.66 per cent. 

The landlocked nation struggles with a limited industrial base and an overdependence on agriculture, leading to fewer job opportunities for its citizens.

Reports say that the civil unrest experienced in 2021 and the unsettled socio-political environment are current significant negative factors dampening the investment climate of the nation.


The Republic of the Congo, not to be confused with its larger neighbour, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has an unemployment rate of 21.57 per cent. 

Despite its oil wealth, the country grapples with infrastructural challenges and political instability. 

The high unemployment rates can be attributed to volatile oil prices and unsteady oil production, an escalation of the war in Ukraine and related spillovers, weaker-than-expected global demand, a further tightening of global or regional financial conditions, adverse weather conditions and weak reform implementation.


A nation blessed with vast natural resources, Gabon still faces an unemployment rate of 21.43 per cent. 

Though rich in oil and minerals, the nation struggles to diversify its economy and provide stable jobs for its growing population. 

While over a third of its population lives under the poverty threshold, ousted President Ali Bongo and has assets worth hundreds of millions of euros in France and other countries.


Known for its stable democracy and rich diamond mines, Botswana has an unemployment rate of 20.81 per cent. 

The country’s overreliance on diamond exports makes it vulnerable to global market fluctuations. The economic growth of this African country is expected to slow down due to a projected decline in diamond production.


With its vast landscapes and rich cultural heritage, Namibia still faces economic challenges. 

The unemployment rate here stands at 20.95 per cent. Despite efforts to diversify its economy, the country remains dependent on mining and agriculture. 

Experts say new projects in green hydrogen, oil and gas exploration, and processing of critical minerals can help diversify the economy if accompanied by reforms to address skill mismatches and reduce the cost of doing business.

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