Growing up in a world of scarce resources
Everywhere, the voices of youth are crying out for Jobs with increasing vehemence:
-“My life will start when I get a job: marriage, children, a home, food – dignity! – I can get none of these things without a job….”
Daniel, Sierra Leone
“I can’t get a job without experience. But I can’t get experience without ajob!”
“16 years of education, a first class degree in economics and the only job I can get is waiting tables!”
-’They tell me: ‘Start a company, make your own job!’ But nothing in my schooling taught me how to do this. I don’t know where to start….”
-“They tell me women should stay at home, look after the children. But how can I look after the children if I don’t earn any money to put food on the table?!”
Experts from the sector agree on the imperatives
Invest in Youth
Pawan G Patil, Senior Economist - World Bank, and Chief Executive of Global Partnership for Youth Investment, ‘“The key driver in job creation is to encourage self-employment. Encouraging youth to start their own enterprises, will have a multiplier effect as they will employ more youth for their enterprises. But financial providers are not keen to provide finances to youth-led enterprises: globally, less than one quarter of one percent of loan portfolios of finance providers were directed to those under the age of 30.’
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Managing Director, the World Bank, ‘We need to change youth psychology from ‘how do I get a job?’ to ‘How do I create ten jobs?’
William S Reese, CEO, International Youth Foundation, ‘If you invest in youth, and create jobs for them, society will get tax-payers; if you fail so to invest you will get citizens who are, at best, a drain on the state and, at worst, over-throwers of it – as several Arab states have found to their cost this year.’
Andrew Fiddaman, Youth Business Intl., ‘In every country in the world, our research has shown that one in five young people have the intuitive skill to start and run a successful small business. If governments were smart enough to invest in that one in five, pretty soon, they would employ the other four.’
But the reality is more than uncertain
The sector is all but invisible in the major development agencies.
The World Bank chose to celebrate the UN’s recent International Year of Youth by dismantling its highly effective Children & Youth Department.
None of the OECD DAC members have any kind of Youth department
Very few have a single officer dedicated to the sector.
Nevertheless, there is a light at the end of the tunnel as
on January 17th, 2013, the then United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Ahmad Alhindawi of Jordan as his Envoy on Youth. A spokesperson for the world body’s chief said after this announcement that,
“The Secretary-General in his Five-Year Action Agenda identified ‘Working with and for Women and Young People’ as one of his top priorities, the spokesperson added in a note to the media. “In this context, the Envoy on Youth will work to address the needs of the largest generation of youth the world has ever known.”
Though Ahmad announced his planned departure in February 2017, he will continue his pursuit as Secretary General with the World Organization of the Scout Movement.
Job seeker lack skills demanded by labor market
- skills deficiencies in business skills
- no means to verify viability of a business idea
- lack of access to start-up / seeding capital
- majority of youth living in low income areas