Young people and unemployment

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The year 2015 represented an opportunity for transformation; the former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the young people who gathered in the General Assembly Hall.

Young people worldwide fear a lack of economic opportunities and this is one of the factors that trigger migration worldwide. So it is a natural phenomenon and it should not be a blame game.

 Ban ki-moon went on to say that “you are in the driving seat of this change”.  Today’s young people were the first generation that could end poverty, and the last that could act to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

This commensurate with special adviser to Gambia’s Information minister who recently took the baton to encourage the country’s young people to be more willing and energise at all times when it comes to participation in problem resolving for national growth.

Ndaye Tapha Sosseh is right when said there still remains a great disconnect between Gambian’s perception about governance and the rapidly changing realities present on the ground.

Her argument that Gambian youth are the key to resolving the entrenched problems facing their generation are encouraging but the fear that gripes the young people in terms of economic opportunities is incredibly high and this is not limited to The Gambia.

Around the world, nearly half the youth are unemployed or underemployed, while more than 120 million youth are still illiterate. So it is difficult to overstate the universality of this problem.

Is this because youth employment has received the least focus? Unemployment has historically taken a back seat to other core priorities towards the young.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), for example, include the eradication of hunger, child mortality, illiteracy and disease – but there is no goal for unemployment or underemployment. It may be time to add another notch to these priorities, with a focus on developing strategies for engaging and employing youth.

But as key drivers of change in the post-2015 era, the world’s 1.2 billion young people were deemed to be bolstered by robust national policies and innovative solutions to the challenges they faced. However, among the 17 SGD Goals, no mention has been made of addressing youth unemployment.

Ms. Sosseh said the media should strive to portray opportunities present and available to Gambian youth and provide a two way platform of communication between youth and leaders to strengthen democracy and human rights, expand economic opportunity and support those who sought peace and national reconciliation in areas where distrust had festered.

But the question that always remains unanswered is that has media always seen as a potential partner in such a crusade; to understand that no meaning development can be achieved without rigorous involvement of the media?

“Unemployment has historically taken a back seat to other core priorities towards the young.”

The Point