The United Nations labour agency has warned that countries in North Africa need to adopt a broader, more concerted response to tackle the crisis of youth unemployment, with the youth unemployment rate now standing at 28.8 percent, twice the global average.
“Arguably, the single biggest global development challenge in the decades to come will be the need to integrate hundreds of millions of young people into the labour market,” International Labour Organisation, ILO, Director-General, Guy Ryder, told a two-day international conference in Geneva, which is expected to adopt a new five-year action plan to enhance youth employability in the sub-region.
An ILO press release said that in North Africa, only 16.6 percent of young women and 46.8 percent of young men are economically active, meaning that they are employed or seeking work.
Among those active, 29.3 percent (24.1 percent for young men and 44.4 percent for young women) are unemployed, and around 25 percent of working youth are estimated to be living in poverty.
“In order to fill the youth employment gap in the North African region, we call on social partners, governments, workers and employers’ organisations together with development partners, to renew their commitment and action on youth employment,” ILO Deputy Director-General for Policy, Deborah Greenfield, said at the event, calling for a strong policy response to reverse these trends.
At the conference, representatives from Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia, as well as development partners and major stakeholders, are expected to adopt a “Roadmap for Youth Employment in North Africa”.