September 30, 2013

SPARK IGNITE: How the Youth Unemployment Crisis is Affecting the Most Vulnerable Groups

by Yannick du Pont

While the G20 recognises that job creation is key to creating economic stability, just as important, is addressing the issue of youth underemployment. With youth unemployment rates as high as 50-60% in fragile states, young people are given little to no choices for development. Significantly more vulnerable to crisis, fragile states are undergoing ongoing political crisis, socioeconomic reconstruction and/or political transitions. Youth in fragile states are at risk of accepting situations of underemployment due to their environment, which results in under utilisation of skills, people in low wage jobs, lack of training programmes and a general environment that dis-empowers its youth by ignoring the existing potential around them.

Through the development of academic and entrepreneurship support programmes, youth are exposed to more sustainable forms of assistance, and in turn are oriented on potential career paths. One example of this would be the Benghazi Entrepreneurship Centre. To create jobs for at risk youth in Libya, the Benghazi Entrepreneurship Centre supports youth and women entrepreneurs to establish startups and promotes the expansion of established SMEs through business skills training, advice and coaching. The project presents an Entrepreneurship and SME support model that applies a competitive approach to source business ideas with growth and job creation potential and aims to unlock domestic investment capital by seeking close involvement of potential investors.

While some would question why you would engage in a difficult and unstable environment such as East Libya, it is precisely due to its instability, that early engagement is crucial. Creating sustainable activities and programmes that lead to job creation among youth, is the key means to positive reconstruction. The International Youth Job Creation Summit was a perfect platform for development organisations to share experiences on the possibilities for youth employment and an important starting point in setting up a global network to tackle the large scale youth unemployment challenges we face today.

*Yannick du Pont is the Director of SPARK


SPARK IGNITE is SPARK’s blog of stories, updates and opinions by SPARK staff, on relevant topics in the news, stories from the fields, and what inspire us to do what we do.  We welcome external contributions; to contribute please contact media[at]