18 October 2012

Liberia: Tackle Unemployment With Urgency - VP Boakai

Vice President Joseph N. Boakai has urged policymakers here to tackle high unemployment among the youth with urgency, but failure should not be an option.

He said job creation, skills building in the formal and informal sectors, access to capital for young people, leadership and entrepreneur skills to halt rural-urban migration are among key factors when defining the welfare of youth in Africa nowadays.

Veep Boakai made these assertions during a policy seminar on youth development, job creation and capacity building for every community and rural areas held in Monrovia.

"These should be implemented by developing the infrastructure and to create sustainable job opportunities by initiating community based projects or income generating projects," he noted.

He recounted numerous programs initiated by ministries of Labor and Youth and Sports with the assistance of Liberia's international partners to ascertain the viability of initiating a structured job creation project.

National Democratic Institute (NDI's) consultant, Charles Brempong Yeboah said no society can survive for the long if 20 to 25 percent or more of its youths with lots of energy are unemployed, which could create serious long-term damage.

Mr. Yeboah, a former Ghanaian parliamentarian and deputy minister for manpower and youth development said youth complained a lot all over the county about the lack of economic opportunities, including employment.

"Government or we need to re-orientate our youth by encouragement through the legislature. Let change the mindset from seeking white collar formal employment to cultivating an entrepreneurial attitude that will see them start their own thing by focusing more on entrepreneurship," he said.

Mr. Yeboah called for government initiative in the implementation and effective youth employment program in the country to reduce the unemployment rate. Commenting also, Youth and Sports Minister, Tornorlah Varpilah disclosed the allocation of US$15 million for youth development.

For his part, Representative Christian Chea said lawmakers were working with all ministries to empower youth in the country, but was not specific on which ministries or how. The Second Vice President for the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY) Isatu Ville stressed that Liberian youth need to first work on their mines and go back to school.

She said unskilled youth should get themselves into rehabilitation programs because during the war, young people were conscripted by commanders of various fighting groups.

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