The International Labor Organization has warned that unemployment rate in North African states has hit unsustainable levels standing at 28.8%, twice the global average, and called for concerted efforts to improve employment in the region.
The warning came following a two-day high-level international conference in Geneva on “Youth and Employment in North Africa” with participants from Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia, as well as development partners and major stakeholders to agree on a five-year plan of action and roadmap to enhance youth employability in the sub-region.
In a statement issued after the event, Deborah Greenfield, ILO Deputy Director-General for Policy, stressed that “In order to fill the youth employment gap in the North African region, we call on social partners, governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations together with development partners, to renew their commitment and action on youth employment”.
“Comprehensive and coordinated policy responses, implementation and action based on evidence, social dialogue and global partnerships, should lead a more proactive international action to respond to high levels of youth unemployment and underemployment, increasing informality, and slow productivity growth”, Greenfield said.
The conference placed special emphasis on the issue of low female labor force participation along with other issues such as compromised job quality, increasing informality and slow productivity and underemployment that hamper employment efforts in North Africa.
The ILO statement stresses the need for North African states to adopt a new “Roadmap for Youth Employment in North Africa” to help governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations as well as other key stakeholders to outline an evidence-based strategy on youth employment for the next five years.
Ministers and Deputy Ministers attending the High-level Panel on Challenges and Opportunities for Youth Employment in North Africa reaffirmed that the youth employment policy challenge would require a coordinated strategy.