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Youth unemployment in region expected to increase to 14.7 per cent by 2017

Youth unemployment in region expected to increase to 14.7 per cent by 2017


Youth unemployment in Latin America and the Caribbean is expected to increase to 14.7 percent by 2017.{{more}}

And although this number seems relatively low, the number of young people dropping out of the labour force in this region is among the highest in the world.

As a result, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is calling on developing economies to adopt various measures to deal with the issue, including promoting youth entrepreneurship.

This information was given by Stanton De Freitas, keynote speaker at the opening ceremony of the fifth Youth Business Seminar, which opened up here on Thursday.

De Freitas said the concept of entrepreneurship was worth examining, because the development of business people now meant that they would be the employees of the future.

But we are not all privileged to be born into an affluent family who will provide the start-up capital that we may need.

“That was where creative innovations were important … we all have it in us, it is only a matter of turning on the switch,” De Freitas said.

The two-day seminar brought together young entrepreneurs and other youth business managers to examine the current economic situation.

There was a session devoted to focusing in on agriculture as a key component in the development of an economic plan.

Dr Heather Johnson, representative from the CARICOM Secretariat, said the Community’s response to globalization was the creation of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME).

“But it is not well understood and appreciated as it ought to be among young people,” Johnson explained.

The CSME is a mechanism, which has been implemented to maintain local and regional competitiveness to expand the region’s productive capacity.

“And to give citizens opportunities to employment, development, fulfilment and growth,” she said.

The youth, however, are expected to provide the most opportunity for the future.

“Their creativity, unique perspectives, energy and other assets are usually essential, if we are going to talk about societal change, technological innovation and economic development — the challenge was to develop those challenges and mechanisms to optimize growth, creativity and potential.”

Johnson said the region’s heads of governments are aware that youth development has the potential to create economic resilience, particularly by expanding the region’s manufacturing and service sectors.

But the problem was that youth business operators in the region did not know the impact that they have been having globally, Marcia Brandon, regional director of the Caribbean Centre of Excellence for Youth Entrepreneurship, said.

“We want to help young people to make a difference, to generate wealth, to create equity, independence and access to justice,” Brandon said.

She further contended that the young people across the region needed to be educated on how to become entrepreneurs.

“When we educate our young people to be entrepreneurial, it helps them to become more productive individuals and that way we can have a more productive society,” Brandon said. (DD)