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Youth Unemployment

Insight into the Future of Youth Unemployment


Collins Ohm Chabane - Minister in The Presidency: Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation as well as Administration

"Africa, by 2025, two-thirds of our population will be under 25 years of age. This cohort is the next generation of problem-solvers, the ones who can make the discoveries and build the industries that will transform our economies and bring hope to the neglected and marginalised peoples of our world."

"Without jobs or meaningful livelihood options, young people in Africa will naturally seek other ways to release their energies. This may become manifest in violence – against authority figures or governments, or as often is the case, against girls or women. It may also result in young people leaving their homelands to seek a brighter future elsewhere. At this stage in Africa’s development, a mass exodus of its young people would be a grave tragedy. Africa’s prosperity depends on their ideas, energy and commitment to the continent’s future."

Youth Innovator

“There is this myth that if you simply invest in education, you’ll turn the economy around, but schooling is not enough. You have to arrive with the right mentality—what is the right thinking and attitudes that will promote entrepreneurship and job creation? That’s where it starts."

Rupiah Bwezani Banda - Zambian politician who was President of Zambia from 2008 to 2011

“It is in the hands of our youth that the future prosperity and stability of Africa lies."

"What they require to succeed in life is no different than in other parts of the world – a decent education and employment."

Nemat Shafik - Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

“Growth will get us two-thirds of the way in the creation of jobs. But there are also structural issues that relate to the kinds of policies that determine how the labor market and the educational system work and prepare workers for the labor force."

Aires Bonifacio Baptista Ali - former Prime Minister of Mozambique

“In meeting the challenge of youth unemployment, our strength, as ever, lies in unity of effort, ideas and objectives."

Sanoussi Touré - Minister of the Economy and Finance of Mali

“Youth in urban areas are looking for jobs alongside thousands of others from the same schools, while rural youth are flooding into the cities looking for work. This is a tragedy. Our policies favor investment in education and training, but this investment has not led to job creation. "

Anna K. Tibaijuka - Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT)

“Since humankind today is younger than it has ever been, our collective future will, more than ever, be shaped by today’s youth. In this sense, this fledgling 21st century belongs to young people. If we want our, the older generation’s, legacy to endure for the decades to come, let us make sure that we pass it on to those billions of able young hands that are only waiting for the opportunity."

Lamin Barrow - Resident Representative of the African Development Bank in Ethiopia

"Creating productive jobs for young people will continue to pose a major policy challenge as the number of youth in Africa is set to double from the current 200 million to about 400 million by 2045."

Mthuli Ncube - Chief Economist and Vice President of the African Development Bank

“The continent is experiencing jobless growth. That is an unacceptable reality on a continent with such an impressive pool of youth, talent and creativity."

Juan Somavia - former Director-General of the International Labour Organization, 1999-2012

"Young people are the drivers of economic development […]. Forgoing this potential is an economic waste and can undermine social stability."

José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs - Executive Director of the International Labour Organization's Employment Sector

“Employers, education providers and youth often live in parallel universes, they do not sufficiently engage with each other. We know a lot about what works but real impact and scale can only be achieved through close partnerships and collective action."

Secure jobs that were once the norm for previous generations – at least in advanced economies – have become less easily accessible for today’s youth. The growth of temporary and part-time work, in particular since the height of the global economic crisis, suggests that such work is often the only option for young workers.

The long-term consequences of persistently high youth unemployment include the loss of valuable work experience and the erosion of occupational skills. Moreover, unemployment experiences early in the career of a young person are likely to result in wage scars that continue to depress employment and earnings’ prospects even decades later.

Mario Pezzini - Director at the OECD Development Centre

“In low-income countries, most young people work but are poor nevertheless. In African middle-income countries, on the other hand, such as South Africa or the Northern African countries, despite better education, more youth are inactive than working."

Jamie McAuliffe - President and Chief Executive Officer, Education for Employment Foundation (EFE)

“Whether public or private, for profit or not, we need significant, shared commitments to change the ‘age of youth unemployment’ into the ‘age of youth opportunity’."

Chris Kirk - Chief Executive Officer, GEMS Education Solutions

“We need to revisit the nature of education, training and skills on offer, and equip people with the employability and entrepreneurial skills they need to make a difference."

Dr Jonathan Wadsworth - Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP), London School of Economics who specialises in the study of youth unemployment

“If you’re young and you are out of work for months on end, there is a great deal of evidence that it becomes more and more difficult for you to get a job, ever, or to hold on to one if you do get one."

Rafat Al-Akhali - Political activist, the co-founder and Chairman of Resonate! Yemen: a youth-run foundation focusing on engaging youth in public policy.

“Youth have to do a lot of work for themselves, preparing for the job market, finding what is out there and how they could be better suited for these jobs. And helping other youth with mentoring, as well. It’s much easier for youth to be mentors for other youth than doing it across generations."

Participant - UN Post-2015 Youth and Employment Workshop, Amman, Jordan, 18 December 2012

“Seeking a job is an arduous journey into the impossible."


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