Author – Arnold Mutamiri
According to the ILO 2019, study of “wages in Africa” the average salary of Sub Saharan Africans is 22% less as compared to the average salary north of Sahara. The average income of the working class as of 2019 amounted to $2 000 USD per year roughly averaging to less than one USD per hour.
Most of the working class in Africa are highly skilled workers, which include nurses, artisans, engineers, clerks, truck drivers etc. They are many reasons why the salaries remained suppressed some of them include
Increase in the Cost of living: the average cost of living has risen to an average of 5usd per day. Such costs include basic food, rent, transport, heat and entertainment.
Wages Stagnation: the average incomes have remained stagnated since 2003 however; productivity has increased by 40% in the manufacturing and mining sectors of the continent.
Inflation: most incomes have lost value due to inflationary pressures and the loss of value of most currencies in the continent. Such currencies include the Zimbabwe dollar, which has seen a sharp lose in its value since 2008 hence rendering the earnings of workers meaningless.
Covid-19 Pandemic: the Covid 19 Pandemic wreaked havoc in the job market as most workers on salaries lost their jobs and their incomes.
Automation: most manufacturing jobs in Africa, have been replaced with automated machines hence making most low skilled labors useless and therefore loss their incomes and jobs.
Globalization: 50% of manufacturing jobs has been shipped to East Asia. Therefore Africa has been become the single net importer of manufactured goods from USA, Europe and China. Such goods include Clothes, household items, vehicles, defense, processed food and metals.
Trade Unions: Most trade unions in Africa have lost their collective bargaining power since most organization do not allow workers to join trade unions.
Monopsony: Majority of industries in Africa are the sole producers of the goods or services. Some examples include mines, vehicle plants, manufactures of beverages and food. Such industries are so large that most employees want to work for them hence the organizations they bargain for lower wages and salaries.
Workers Laws: Most governments have poor laws around remuneration and Workers rights hence most companies take advantage and exploits the workers earnings, benefits and retirement incomes.
“ Wages in Africa ” https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—africa/—ro-abidjan/—sro-cairo/documents/publication/wcms_728363.pdf