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Youth Unemployment is a Global Concern; Sierra Leone is No Exception!
By Augustine Samba
Nov 19, 2013, 17:24
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In Sierra Leone, many narrow-minded, politically motivated critics blame this government & leaderships for youth unemployment. Many people are narrow-minded about youths affairs and issues, especially those relating to employment. In many countries and societies, youth are heavily relied upon, in terms of growth and development. Youth represent the highest percentage of the working population. Youth entrench the pivotal spectrum of the societys growth, technology, research, focus, education, leadership, development among other things.


Most governments and leaders have always identified the talents and roles played by youth as essential commodities that requires utmost utility.  In most cases, some governments and leaders try as best as possible to ensure that some youths are either employed or engaged in some livelihood activities for their betterments.

Across the world today, youth unemployment is becoming a phenomenon affecting governance and leadership. Young people without jobs exist in well developed countries, middle income countries and the least. In developed countries like United Kingdom and Japan or elsewhere, the private sector is the highest employer. No government can provide jobs for 60% of its population. The fact that governments cannot provide many jobs for their citizens is not a deliberate act but a natural and global phenomenon.


In England and China, thousands of college granduands wallow without employment. This situation similarly applies to other youth in Sierra Leone as well as West African countries.


As I said earlier, many politically motivated critics blame the Koroma-led government and the President for youth unemployment. Some of these critics have failed to count on the influx of foreign mining companies providing employment in past 6 years.Narrow-mindedness has caused these people to refuse hailing establishment of the Youth Commission by President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma as well as the appointment of young people to Cabinet and other positions of trust.


In the State Opening of Parliament last year, President Koroma assured the public that he will lay his life for the youth of Sierra Leone. Also in his Agenda for Prosperity, young people affairs scored the highest.Some of the promises made by President Koroma for the youths of this country, are currently being realized. The young people of Sierra Leone should therefore be patient because the government is revitalizing many avenues for many youth employments underway. President Koromas relationship with youth of Sierra Leone is more cordial than any other president the country has ever had before. Across the world, it is only President Koromas government that has an office right up their at State House, manned by a Presidential Youth Aide (PYA).The office was created by President Koroma. The close proximity of the PYA to the seat of power means the President will be duly informed on issues affecting youth in the country and how to address them.


One of the recent banners of youth groups appreciating H.E. President Ernest Bai Koroma


Youth joblessness is not only affecting Sierra Leone.


In fact, some developed countries are under serious threat as many citizens go without jobs. Leaders and governments in Europe and America are now under pressure to tackle an ever increasing unemployment rate. The World Economic Forum recently warned the British Government to find a solution for its jobless population envisaging that unemployed youth would tear a country apart if they wallow without earning for too long. A chunk of the population in United States remained unemployed as of the start of the final quarter of this year according to US Federal Bureau Labor Statistics. Veterans as well as Youths are yet to find jobs owning to prolonged unemployment swirl, stubbornly disturbing the United States, Britain and European cities. Sierra Leone is surely not an exception.


Please see below for an article on the World Economic Forums (WEF) Warning on Unemployment in Europe.

Youth Unemployment Could Tear Europe Apart

Warns World Economic Forum


Culled from The Daily Telegraph


Crime rates will soar, economies will stagnate and Europes social fabric will deteriorate if policymakers do not act to address youth unemployment, World Economic Forum report warns A lost generation of  jobless youth in the eurozone could tear the single currency apart if nothing is done to address chronic levels of unemployment, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has warned.


There is a growing consensus on the fact that unless we address chronic joblessness we will see an escalation in social unrest, said S. D. Shibulal, chief executive of Infosys, who contributed to the WEFs Global Agenda Report.


People, particularly the youth, need to be productively employed, or we will witness rising crime rates, stagnating economies and the deterioration of our social fabric, he added.


John Lipsky, who served as acting managing director of the International Monetary Fund during the height of the Greek crisis in 2011, said the problem was likely to get worse before it got better.


He told the Telegraph: Right now its hard to see any decisive move back the other way at a time in which everyone feels their circumstances are under threat and are worried about their economic future.


Mr. Lipsky, who contributed to the WEF report, said rigid labour laws meant existing workers were offered more attractive employment rights than their younger counterparts.


We all know its true that if its easier to dismiss a worker when things dont work out, that makes you more willing to take a chance on hiring somebody, he said.


I myself have had the experience of finding that restrictive practices make you very reluctant to take on the burden of an employee unless youre absolutely sure that you can sustain them.


He said that while it was viewed as cruel and heartless to make it easier for employers to dismiss unproductive workers, relaxing labour laws and fostering greater labour mobility was essential if young workers were to get a toehold in the economy.


He said the rigidity of current laws meant many younger workers were hired on temporary contracts, without the same privileges and job security as permanent employees.


The WEF report, which examined ten key issues that would shape the world in 2014, called on governments to work together to tackle the crisis and resist moving towards a protectionist agenda.


Mr. Shibulal called on governments to equip young people with the skills and training needed to cope with evolving labour market demands.


The financial crisis has seen unemployment soar to record highs in some parts of Europe. The jobless rate is currently 26.6% in Spain, while in Greece, the rate is 27.6%. However, the youth unemployment rate is as high as 75% in some parts of Greece.


A generation that starts its career in complete hopelessness will be more prone to populist politics and will lack the fundamental skills that one develops early on in their career, the report said.


This can undermine the future of European integration as the countries with the highest youth unemployment rate are on the periphery.


Meanwhile, the WEF report also warned of a rising lack of confidence in economic policies, caused by the impact of the financial crisis.


A survey by the Pew Research Center found that 99% of Greek respondents to its attitudes survey felt the situation in their country was bad.


This compares to 83% of UK respondents and just 10% in China. Meanwhile, 95% of Greeks said the economics system in their country favoured the wealthy, compared with 60% of Americans and 44% of Australians.


People put too much belief in policymakers ability to heal the crisis, said Mr. Lipsky, who currently works at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. The weakness of the recovery suggested that policymakers were either feckless or powerless.


The report also said tensions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) would be high on the global agenda next year.

Cyber threats and Asias growing middle class were also cited among the ten trends, as was widening income disparities.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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