African Youth Paying High Price Due to Unemployment

United Nations Economic Commission for Africa

Addis Ababa — In a statement delivered at a forum on the theme, ‘Accelerating Youth Employment in Africa’ the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa Mr. Abdalla Hamdok said that young people are paying a high price as a result of the current economic situation and “there is a need to address and propose immediate and effective actions to prevent and tackle the high rates of youth unemployment.”

Held at the UN Conference Centre, the 29-30 Forum is organized jointly by the Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation and the African Union Commission, the forum brought together youth representatives to discuss with leaders in government, experts, private-sector representatives, academics, members of civil society to share experiences on the theme.

“Our challenge is to jointly address the failures in our labour markets so that those falling behind can catch up with the frontrunners – we simply cannot sit idle when millions of young Africans are neither in employment nor in education or training,” said Mr. Hamdok. He added: “We need their talents, skills and experience, their capacity to invent, innovate and create – these are all driving forces for our collective prosperity.”

He urged the forum to adopt a common responsibility to create better opportunities for young people and lauded African governments for efforts made in considering employment, especially youth employment, a top priority. “We must however go beyond dialogue to action and we must move from promises to practices, from commitments to concrete projects, from intentions to implementation,” stressed the Deputy Executive Secretary.

He called for an enabling environment that provides opportunities for the socio-economic empowerment of the youth, stressing that “achieving an inclusive society takes planning and systematic work.” He also underscored the need for a high level of political commitment, support and allocation of adequate resources; as well as action-oriented plans and strategies with concrete measures and explanations on how these measures will improve the existing situation. These plans, said Mr. Hamdok, should clearly point out who is responsible for implementation and indicate time frames and benchmarks.

He further stressed the need for effective follow-up and evaluation in order to learn from past mistakes and build on successes.

A Common Position on the way forward will be developed on points of action to conclude the two-day meeting.


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