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Sunday, October 24, 2021

UN and global youth unemployment

The UN chief scribe who targeted countries in this direction a few months ago during an International Labour Organisation’s event in Switzerland, de­scribed youth unemployment in most parts of the world as a formidable chal­lenge that global leaders must tackle. Ki-moon also declared on that occasion that decent jobs for youths are essen­tial to future global prosperity.


It is apt and proper to say that the United Nations is say­ing this to the hearing of all member states of the organisation. Ki-moon’s alarm that youth unemployment is an ‘epidemic’ that represents a great test of our time should be taken seriously by rich and poor countries of the world. His observation, too, that unemployment rates for young people are many times those of adults should worry leaders of all countries, especially those where youth joblessness has risen so high.


We welcome the concerns by the UN and urge all countries, particularly those in the developing or third world orbit, to rise up to the challenges of youth unemployment and embark on massive job creation drive to avert the time bomb that may soon detonate. Third World countries, including The Gambia, should ramp up on its efforts to confront the monster of youth unem­ployment and create the enabling envi­ronment for massive job creation.

One sector where government should tap into is ag­riculture which is both the mover and shaker of our economy in order to meet this challenge. Available records in recent past on the num­ber of jobless Gambian youth have been remarkably undesirable. Although some of the figures may be statistically flawed, there is no doubt that youths constitute a larger percentage of the nation’s unemployed people.


Every year, the nation’s tertiary insti­tutions put into the job market an army of certificated but unemployed youths chasing what some would call elusive jobs. Government should find ways of engaging and harmonising our workforce to cre­ate room for the youth. Although government cannot create jobs for all of the nation’s youth, their agility, productivity and inventiveness cannot be sacrificed on the altar of disengagement.


The Gambia’s future development and her dream to be an economic super power among nations of the world will be elusive if the majority of its youth are unemployed. Most de­veloped countries of the world depend on the productivity of their youths in­stead of those of their aging population in their development drive. The govern­ment must do more to give our youth a chance. Let us empower our youth because they are our only hope for the future. They are our future leaders. Any country that takes pleasure in joking with the destiny of its youth is sure to be building on a weak foundation.


Bemoaning the ugly situation alone will not help matters. Rather, empha­sis should be placed on skills acquisi­tion instead of paper qualification. The UN member states, especially those in third world countries, should tailor their higher education schools’ curricular towards technical/vocational and en­trepreneurship education. They should ensure that their tertiary institutions include in their programmes courses aimed at producing prospective entre­preneurs and not necessarily people that will look for jobs upon graduation. Since the private sector is a key driver of job creation, government and educa­tional institutions should partner with them in creating jobs for the youth. This has become necessary in view of the fact that government alone cannot create jobs for the youths. Let all hands be on deck to ensure that there are jobs for our youth.


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