West Africa: Breaking the Cycle of Youth Unemployment, Poverty
Monday, February 10, 2014
Youth unemployment and underemployment are among the main barriers to development in West Africa, say experts. Not only does the exclusion of young people from the labour force perpetuate generational cycles of poverty, it also breaks down social cohesion and can be associated with higher levels of crime and violence among idle youth.
“A decent and productive job [not only] contributes to attaining fundamental individual and family well-being, but also spills over, contributing to society’s broader objectives, such as poverty reduction, economy-wide productivity growth and social cohesion,” said Diego Rei, the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) senior regional adviser on youth employment in Africa.
Worldwide, an estimated 73 million youths – defined as those between the ages of 15 and 24 – were unable to secure work in 2013, according to the ILO.