The Inquirer (Monrovia)

Liberia: 'Lack of Employment Remains a Major Source of Social Instability' - P4DP Executive Alarms

An Executive of the Platform for Dialogue and Peace (P4DP), a local organization in partnership with Inter-peace UNOPS in Liberia, has alarmed that while Liberia has made significant achievements in its post war reconstruction agenda, the everyday life of social actors is charaterised by insecurity, scarcity and uncertainty.

Addressing the just ended Joint Coulcil of Chiefs and Elders Meeting in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County , Mr. Alphoso Woiwor reminded that the youths constitute over 60% of Liberia's population which he said was revealed by the 2010 report of Inter-peace.

Speaking further, Mr. Woiwor noted, "Youths angrily complained all over the country about the lack of economic opportunities and unemployment. This situation and recent events, especially following the General Elections of November 2011, have urged the the Government to take a more serious look at this problem. It is not surprising therefore that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, has chosen the theme of Youth Empowerment and Employment as one of the main thematic priority areas for the second term of her administration."

Woiwor added that the situation along the border areas is compounded by the presence of Ivorian long-term refugees with an important percentage of single female-headed households.

He stressed, "The dwindling supplies for these refugees, who have outlived the limits of socio-cultural solidarity from their host communities, imply that resource scarcity will ferment harsher divides between the various communities along the frontiers of our common borders."

Speaking on the theme, "Community Development Projects and Youth Employment" Woiwor pleaded with stakeholders at the Zwedru Meeting to make the initiative be considered as a pilot project for the border regions for Liberia and for La Cote d'Ivoire side.

"This presentation seeks to contribute to the National Roadmap process, of Reconciliation activities and further explores the means to create 'demand driven' jobs for youths, particularly those that are considered "at risk youths" living along the volatile frontiers with La Cote d'lvoire," he said.

He said during the civil war, Liberian militia movement, MODEL, allegedly accused of being supported by regional leader had its roots in this parts of the country and many ex-combatants are still present in these border areas and that most recently, unemployed, young Liberian ex-combatants were allegedly accused of involvement on the Ivorian side to make a living by fighting with militias on both sides.

"There are concerns that these militia men have brought back some of these weapons on their return from Ivory Coast and it's also assumed that together with potential financing, the current constellation of young unemployed ex-combatants, on these porous borders with these weapons represent a "time bomb," the P4DP executive said.

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