Within the framework of the 5th UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5), a session on promoting youth economic inclusion and entrepreneurial skills Monday discussed ways to motivate and empower this segment.
Executive Director of the International Trade Centre Pamela Coke-Hamilton spoke of the importance of enhancing the economic inclusion of youth in the least developed countries and providing them with the entrepreneurial skills necessary to create small companies and income-generating projects, as one in three people live in extreme poverty in these countries.
With the entry of 1bn young people around the world into the labour market during the next decade, there is an urgent need to adopt tangible solutions that open new job opportunities in all sectors for this group that has hopes and aspirations and often ends up either disappointed and leaves society or leaves in large numbers, she said.
The UN centre had already done and is doing so by working more closely with policymakers to make it more inclusive of youth and identify key priorities for youth and trade, she said, adding the centre also works to increase the competitiveness of young entrepreneurs in international value chains, especially in areas that give them high growth potential such as the sports industry.
Hamilton indicated the centre’s intention to support local actors to provide high-quality services to young entrepreneurs, especially with regard to obtaining financing, in addition to supporting the African continental free trade area through a regional agreement that has the potential to increase Africa’s income by $450bn by 2035.
She said that there was a real need for partners to help the centre bridge the skills gap in the least developed countries, reviewing its efforts to link the demand for skills with educational and training programmes offered, especially in Iraq and Gambia to empower youth.
Director of Agricultural Economics at the UN Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) Dejene Tezera addressed the importance of taking the views of young people in any development process as it is not an option but rather a necessity, saying that more than half of the world’s population today is under the age of 30, and the vast majority of them live in developing countries, as well as the number of young people who are currently living in poverty is unacceptable as they suffer from poor education and do not see any prospects for work.
Tezera said there is a need to create about 600mn jobs in the next decade to meet the needs of young people, and there is a need for more efforts to provide them with appropriate skills and enable them to learn and find decent work or become entrepreneurs through inclusive and sustainable industrial development and the creation of opportunities for better future.
For his part, the President of the Young Entrepreneurs Club at the Ministry of Sports and Youth Ibrahim Khalid al-Sulaiti, said during his participation in the discussion session that the youth segment, which is estimated to constitute a third of the world’s population, includes 1.8bn young men and women who do not work, learn or train and 1bn more young people will enter the labour market over the next decade.
He indicated that the global economy will need to create 600mn additional jobs or entrepreneurial opportunities over the next 10 years to keep pace with these expected demographic developments. He said that empowering youth would contribute to achieving economic independence through the development of micro, small and medium enterprises, trade, and related skills development directly in many of the sustainable development goals, reduce poverty and enhance family income.
He called for investing in youth to enhance long-term competitiveness and structural change, adding, that the younger the population, the greater the empowerment of youth and the competitiveness of micro, small and medium enterprises, which constitute a double solution for development.
He added that at the societal level, the effective integration of skilled youth in the workplace and as entrepreneurs contributes to accelerating economic growth, productivity and innovation, better access to improved skills, entrepreneurship and business opportunities also expands the pool of employment and talent available to the economy.
He explained that despite the benefits that additional inclusion of young people in the economy can bring to national and global economies, young people around the world often face severe barriers to entry into self-employment, entrepreneurship, and employment. (QNA)