|Top UN official highlights impact of joblessness on poorest nations
Geneva: 5 July 2006: The UN High Representative for Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Anwarul K. Chowdhury, on Wednesday drew attention to soaring unemployment in the world’s 50 poorest nations, highlighting the link between joblessness and deepening poverty.
Speaking during the roundtable on the theme of the 2006 ECOSOC High Level Segment, ”Meeting the challenges of employment creation in Africa and the Least Developed Countries”, Mr. Chowdhury pointed out that last year 229.4 million ‘working poor’ earned US $2 a day in sub-Saharan Africa. Of the 50 LDCs, 34 are in Africa.
Mr. Chowdhury noted that although further research was needed to gain a clearer picture of the issue of employment in LDCs, existing data revealed “slow progress” towards job creation in vulnerable countries.
He pointed out that while there had been an increase in male employment in the industrial sectors in countries such as Bangladesh and Uganda, job prospects for their female counterparts remained slim. Women are predominantly (70-85 percent) employed in agriculture in LDCs, mainly as result of gender stereotypes about their traditional roles in society.
The High Representative drew special attention to unemployment among the youth in LDCs, noting that most LDCs have young populations. It is projected that in 2050 the median age in 9 LDCs (Angola, Burundi, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau. Liberia, Niger and Uganda) will be at or below 23 years.
Mr. Chowdhury said that that data on youth employment was available for three LDCs: Bangladesh, Lesotho and Niger The latest data for Lesotho shows 47.5 percent of youth is out of work.
“It is essential that there is a concerted effort to include the youth when considering ways to improve job opportunities. The youth represent an enormous reservoir of talent which needs to be tapped,” Chowdhury noted.