Labor force participation rate, total (% of total population ages 15-64) (modeled ILO estimate) - Country Ranking - Africa

Definition: Labor force participation rate is the proportion of the population ages 15-64 that is economically active: all people who supply labor for the production of goods and services during a specified period.

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database. Data retrieved in September 2019.

See also: Thematic map, Time series comparison

Find indicator:
Rank Country Value Year
1 Madagascar 87.72 2019
2 Zimbabwe 84.55 2019
3 Tanzania 84.33 2019
4 Rwanda 84.32 2019
5 Ethiopia 82.44 2019
6 Eritrea 82.36 2019
7 Niger 80.09 2019
8 Burundi 79.91 2019
9 Togo 78.75 2019
10 Mozambique 78.65 2019
11 Malawi 78.55 2019
12 Angola 78.14 2019
13 Cameroon 77.04 2019
14 Zambia 75.90 2019
15 Botswana 74.94 2019
16 Guinea-Bissau 73.85 2019
17 Cabo Verde 73.33 2019
18 Mali 72.94 2019
19 Central African Republic 72.82 2019
20 Benin 72.18 2019
21 Uganda 72.07 2019
22 Chad 71.43 2019
23 Congo 70.33 2019
24 Ghana 68.95 2019
25 Lesotho 68.85 2019
26 Burkina Faso 67.81 2019
27 Kenya 66.84 2019
28 Djibouti 66.44 2019
29 Guinea 66.28 2019
30 Mauritius 66.02 2019
31 Dem. Rep. Congo 63.86 2019
32 Equatorial Guinea 63.75 2019
33 Namibia 63.34 2019
34 São Tomé and Principe 61.50 2019
35 The Gambia 60.75 2019
36 South Africa 59.66 2019
37 Sierra Leone 58.60 2019
38 Côte d'Ivoire 58.19 2019
39 Liberia 56.64 2019
40 Eswatini 55.66 2019
41 Nigeria 55.20 2019
42 Libya 54.91 2019
43 Gabon 54.50 2019
44 Tunisia 51.37 2019
45 Egypt 51.22 2019
46 Morocco 48.56 2019
47 Sudan 48.08 2019
48 Somalia 48.02 2019
49 Senegal 47.94 2019
50 Mauritania 47.45 2019
51 Algeria 45.14 2019
52 Comoros 44.95 2019

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Development Relevance: Estimates of women in the labor force and employment are generally lower than those of men and are not comparable internationally, reflecting that demographic, social, legal, and cultural trends and norms determine whether women's activities are regarded as economic. In many low-income countries women often work on farms or in other family enterprises without pay, and others work in or near their homes, mixing work and family activities during the day. In many high-income economies, women have been increasingly acquiring higher education that has led to better-compensated, longer-term careers rather than lower-skilled, shorter-term jobs. However, access to good- paying occupations for women remains unequal in many occupations and countries around the world. Labor force statistics by gender is important to monitor gender disparities in employment and unemployment patterns.

Limitations and Exceptions: Data on the labor force are compiled by the ILO from labor force surveys, censuses, and establishment censuses and surveys. For some countries a combination of these sources is used. Labor force surveys are the most comprehensive source for internationally comparable labor force data. They can cover all non-institutionalized civilians, all branches and sectors of the economy, and all categories of workers, including people holding multiple jobs. By contrast, labor force data from population censuses are often based on a limited number of questions on the economic characteristics of individuals, with little scope to probe. The resulting data often differ from labor force survey data and vary considerably by country, depending on the census scope and coverage. Establishment censuses and surveys provide data only on the employed population, not unemployed workers, workers in small establishments, or workers in the informal sector. The reference period of a census or survey is another important source of differences: in some countries data refer to people's status on the day of the census or survey or during a specific period before the inquiry date, while in others data are recorded without reference to any period. In countries, where the household is the basic unit of production and all members contribute to output, but some at low intensity or irregularly, the estimated labor force may be much smaller than the numbers actually working. Differing definitions of employment age also affect comparability. For most countries the working age is 15 and older, but in some countries children younger than 15 work full- or part-time and are included in the estimates. Similarly, some countries have an upper age limit. As a result, calculations may systematically over- or underestimate actual rates.

Statistical Concept and Methodology: The labor force is the supply of labor available for producing goods and services in an economy. It includes people who are currently employed and people who are unemployed but seeking work as well as first-time job-seekers. Not everyone who works is included, however. Unpaid workers, family workers, and students are often omitted, and some countries do not count members of the armed forces. Labor force size tends to vary during the year as seasonal workers enter and leave. The series is part of the ILO estimates and is harmonized to ensure comparability across countries and over time by accounting for differences in data source, scope of coverage, methodology, and other country-specific factors. The estimates are based mainly on nationally representative labor force surveys, with other sources (population censuses and nationally reported estimates) used only when no survey data are available.

Aggregation method: Weighted average

Periodicity: Annual

General Comments: National estimates are also available in the WDI database. Caution should be used when comparing ILO estimates with national estimates.