Addis Ababa, 3 October 2017 (ECA) – The Economic Commission for Africa is working to develop a youth policy toolbox to support member States in developing national policies that not only meet the diverse needs of the youth but also promote their involvement, ECA’s Social Development Policy Division Director, Thokozile Ruzvidzo, said Tuesday.
In opening remarks to an experts’ workshop on policy options for youth in Africa and the interregional policy toolbox, Ms. Ruzvidzo said the toolbox will help Member States respond to the needs of the youth through the formulation of inclusive and sustainable policies.
The toolbox is being development in a joint project with the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).
“It is under this joint initiative that we are working to document good practices on school-to-work transition across the three regions of ECA, ESCAP and ESCWA. We hope that through this project we can foster learning and demonstrate what works to promote decent employment for young people,” said Ms. Ruzvidzo.
She said the ECA is committed to support the strengthening of member States’ capacities to design, implement and monitor effective planning frameworks for youth development.
“We are all troubled by the high rate of youth unemployment on the continent. African youth account for 60 percent of the unemployed on the continent and young African women and youth with disabilities are even worse off in the labour market as they face numerous barriers,” she told participants.
“Let’s not hesitate to highlight the challenges the continent faces as this will help to define the solutions. We cannot bury our heads in the sand and pretend all is well when the region continues to report the highest rate of youth working poverty globally, at almost 70 per cent in 2016, while facing rapid growth in the number of youth in the labour force.”
Ms. Ruzvidzo said African countries should enact policies that can help address some of the critical constraints facing the youth today, in particular lack of employment and basic education.
“Broader government policies are also needed to support the creation of businesses and employment, including those for the youth. There is also need to institute gender-sensitive and youth-targeted interventions within the context of the broader policies,” she said.
The goal, Ms. Ruzvidzo told participants, is for them to reach common agreement on how Africa’s growing youth population can be translated into a dividend.
In the next three days, the participants will sit in an expert group meeting to validate draft reports on “Policy options for Youth in Africa” and “The Demographic Dividend in Africa”.
There will also be a capacity development session on the interregional youth policy toolbox as participants seek to showcase the continent’s positive efforts to achieve meaningful results for its young people.
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