Guy Ryder, the director general of the International Labour Organisation, ILO, on Saturday, August 3, 2019, painted a gloomy future for young people across the globe, saying a whopping 255 million young people across the globe are unemployable.
He described them as “lost generation in formation” adding that young people typically are two to three times more likely to be unemployed than other adults. Ryder who became the first Director General of the ILO to visit independent Nigeria was in the country to attend the Global Youth Employment Forum which ended in Abuja on Saturday, August 3, 2019.
He said “we should be realistic, there is an overall picture which really require us to stop, to think and then to take action. The reality as captured in aggregated numbers is a disturbing reality. Around the world, 255 million young people are not in employment, nor are they in education or training.
“Young women are three times more likely to figure amongst that number than are young men. So we must ask ourselves, what is their future to be? Even when they can find a place at work, it can often be in extremely difficult conditions. And think of this. Another number 136 million young people are working, often working extremely hard, and yet they are still living in poverty.
“These are the working poor, and in Africa that is the status of 60 per cent of young workers, often concentrated in conditions of informality and in the rural economy. Whether we like it or not, these are our global realities. And accept those realities besides the goals that the international community sets itself, when in 2015, it adopted the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.
He said further that the ILO’s own commitment to young workers gave rise to the very first international labour standard that was adopted in 1919, which is for the protection of young workers, stressing that the organisation has tried to step up action in this regard.
He said further that in 2012, the ILO adopted its call for action on youth employment which basically sets out five areas of action. “These five areas are firstly, pro-employment macroeconomic policies that enable job creation amongst youth. That means that youth unemployment is not only a matter from ministries of labour or youth, but also the central banks, the ministries of planning, the ministries of finance and industries. This is a whole of government’s responsibility.
“The second area is policy for and investment in education and skills. These are key so that the skills we provide young people with are those that our labour markets really need. And we talk frequently about the mismatch between the skills on offer and the skills that are needed. We need to do much better, and we need to make learning a lifelong process,” he said.
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