A world in which every youth has access to employment may sound a little far-fetched, but this is just what global organization Solutions for Youth Employment (S4YE) strives to achieve.

Acknowledging International Youth Day, which comes around every August 12, the S4YE coalition is initiating a five-year strategy which will focus on the specific challenges that youth face in receiving employment across the world.

S4YE is a global coalition made up of civil society actors, government officials, foundations, private sector entities, international organizations and young people endeavoring to help the 600 million youth who are unemployed and simultaneously not receiving education or any kind of additional training across the globe.

“In 2014 nearly 500 million young people around the world are unemployed, inactive, underemployed, or engaged in insecure employment,” states the S4YE.

Tackling such an issue will not be easy, but strides are being taken to make a difference. Over the course of a 15-year initiative, the organization’s first ambitious strategy is to support 150 million youth worldwide by 2030.

Although unemployment is an issue affecting an astronomical amount of people, S4YE is specifically focusing on areas where it is a national priority including the Middle East, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia.

According to an article by the World Bank, the addition of a billion more people entering the workforce in the coming decade means that at least five million more jobs will need to be created each month to meet the demands. If this cannot be done, youth will find themselves in a place of inopportunity, which will only lead to social and political instability.

The magnitude of the problem is grave; if nothing changes for the unemployed youth—with 1 million more youth in Africa and India turning 15 each year—the poorest 40 percent of the world’s population will fall into poverty.

S4YE identifies some of the challenges of accomplishing total youth employment, which include developing a skilled workforce, creating well-functioning markets and ensuring a stable middle-class consumer base. Essentially, traditional models of engagement may be abandoned to guarantee that millions will have the opportunity to escape poverty.

Despite the inherent obstacles, it is S4YE’s vision to see a world where all youth have access to job opportunities that empower them, so they are able to share their prosperity with the world.

Potential solutions for these challenges have also been identified and include leveraging public and private investments for job creation, research and evaluation to design an education based training, and finally, leadership is needed to identify what strategies are and aren’t working, implementing them into the design of future policies and investments.

As our world population continues to climb, it is up to organizations like S4YE to generate creative solutions to keep pace with a rapidly expanding presence and ensure that every human has an opportunity for a life well lived.

Nikki Schaffer

Sources: S4YE, World Bank
Photo: Twitter

Euvin Naidoo TED Talk on Investing in Africa
As president of the South African Chamber of Commerce – America, Euvin Naidoo works with leading corporations and governments to strengthen trans-Atlantic economic ties. In his Ted Talk, Euvin Naidoo focused on “Africa: the next chapter”. To separate the rhetoric from the reality and the fact from the fiction; to go to the actual data and statistics that exist about the actual things happening in Africa that make this continent a realistic investment opportunity and an option for all around the world.

He stated that investing in Africa is a broad term. Africa is not a country; it is made up of 53 different countries. And every country in Africa has a unique value proposition. You can win money here, and you can also lose money here.

Starting the talk about an investment opportunity, as a banker, Euvin Naidoo mentioned some macro-factors. The first sign is that Inflation is coming down across Africa while reaching double-digit figures in many other countries; he called it “Z.E.N. cluster”.

Zambia from 2004 to 2006 has moved from 18 percent in inflation to 9 percent; Egypt from 16 percent to about 8.4 percent; Nigeria from 16 percent to 8 percent – all in single digits. More fascinating, you have other countries, like South Africa, Mauritius, Namibia, which are also in single digits. And this is just part of the story.

Then he gave specific examples from some countries to illustrate his research.

Instead of focusing on South Africa’s gold, minerals, and its first infrastructure, Euvin Naidoo mentioned other important aspects. South Africa was recently voted as the top destination for the top 1000 UK companies for offshore call-centers. They have the same language, timeline, et cetera. Other big names that had reached Africa were Bain Capital and KKR, the big companies of private equity. Bain Capital’s acquisition of Edcon, a large retailer, is testimony to the confidence these famous names are beginning to place in the economy in what is going to be a long-term play.

Nigeria is clearly a hot spot. The new report, issued by Goldman Sachs, highlighted that, by 2020, Nigeria is going to be among the top 10 economies in the world. And also, without any sovereign backing, Nigerian companies are raising capital offshore.

In the oil industry, Africa provides 18 percent of the U.S.’s oil supply, while the Middle East offers just 16 percent. So, Africa can be an important strategic partner to America.

Finally, Naidoo concluded with Africa’s important position in the world economy because of its investment potential.

– Caiqing Jin (Kelly)

source: Ted Talk
Photo: WhiteAfrica