It is an honor to be here today to discuss
with you one of the most serious challenges for Senegal: youth unemployment.
All of us here from the Labsy Ababacar Sy English Club are committed to
tackling it, as students and change-makers ourselves.
Youth unemployment is an issue very important
to us. It is clear that Senegal’s growth and success is based upon our greatest
asset: our youth. This is why our first priority should be to make sure that
Senegal is a place where our young people can grow and reach their full
Youth unemployment has more and more become a
threat to the stability and peace in Sub-Saharan Africa. Despite the recent
positive growth observed in many African countries, no job opportunities opened
up for younger generations.
The unemployment crisis has taken a major toll
on our economies and societies. Young people have had to bear an unfair burden
— faced with high rates of unemployment while also struggling with
unpredictable and low-income work. Poverty — it seems — is chronic in our
Our English Club Members are committed to
advocating for government intervention to provide young people with a good
quality offering of employment, higher education, or an apprenticeship after
leaving formal education.
The question that we want to address today is:
How do we do this?
We first need to take note of where we stand.
Other countries are adapting education and
training systems to increase the number of quality apprenticeships. Closer
partnerships with the business community are being built in this process.
In France, for example, the law on lifelong
learning increases support for apprenticeships for those with fewer
qualifications. These efforts are showing definite results and creating
opportunities for young people.
Mr. President, youth unemployment remains very
high, over 12% (twelve percent). Today, in Senegal, young women are more
negatively affected by unemployment than young men. Nationally, 71
(seventy-one) out of 100 (one hundred) young unemployed are women.
The job market for youth is dominated by
unskilled labor. Of the unemployed youth, 46% (forty-six percent) are
uneducated and 28% (twenty-eight percent) have only received primary schooling.
Senegal can learn some things from these
First: We must do more to reach out to the
young people furthest away from the labor market so that they are not
forgotten. We must guarantee that the government helps them to get a hold in
the job market.
Second: Work needs to continue to ensure the
good quality of all the government offers; these offers must be personalized
and adapted to each individual — including their skills and qualifications.
For apprenticeships in particular, we need
programs providing useful guidance on quality work. The core aim is to help
young people to get into and to stay in the job market.
Third: Effective partnerships are the
strongest factors of success. Broader, more inclusive change is required as
well as communication with employers and others around training and employment
opportunities for young people.
Mr. President, the helping the youth into the
workfield is by no means a cure-all. It must be complemented by the right
policies focusing on job creation and the investment in human assets.
Our English Club has some proposals to help
address these issues:
Youth unemployment cannot be solved unless
there are new, quality jobs created. We need a plan that aims at increasing
growth and job creation.
The social aspect will be sustained by
increasing support for local businesses with the money put into Senegal’s
Focusing on increasing skills, employability
and entrepreneurship is necessary to the fight against youth unemployment.
Advancing nationally with better social investment is key to help get more
young people into work.
Mr. President, every day that a young person
cannot find a job is a day too many. We know a world without jobs is a world
without a future, which is then a world that is unable to develop. Though we still have a long way to go before our
success is definite, we believe we are on the right path.
We owe people in Senegal, today and tomorrow,
to work with determination and to do everything to combat this issue. Our club
is confident that with continued political commitment, sufficient resources,
and determination, we will have the results we are all striving for.