Loosing Youth to Unemployment
Friday, 25 April 2014 05:34
AS BAN KI-MOON WARNS AGAINST CREATING A LOST GENERATION, OUR YOUTHS FACE A CRISIS OF UNEMPLOYMENT
As I write this article, young people around the world would be commemorating the International Youth Day, with the theme "Building a better world: Partnering with youth". In a sombre message, Ban Ki-Moon warns against creating a “lost generation of squandered talents and dreams". Yet, in a country of almost six million people of which 60% are young people, these youths are at risk of becoming a lost generation of squandered talents and dreams because of massive unemployment. Even President Koroma knows that all too well since 2007 when he wrote in his manifesto "to be sure youth employment if not appropriately addressed is a time bomb"
Five years on, in 2012, United Nations figures in Sierra Leone show 70% of our country's youth population is unemployed or underemployed and 50% illiterate or unskilled. In a report posted on the UNDP website "Sierra Leone: Tackling youth employment", the report states that there is a shocking estimated 800,000 youth between the ages of 15 and 35 who are actively searching for employment. Yet, the 800,000 figure does not include the thousands I normally regard as the working poor - those in full time activities which generate incomes below the international poverty guidelines of $1 a day!