Jordan: ‘Youth employment strategies needed’
Experts on Thursday called for effective short- and medium-term strategies to create jobs for young people in the Kingdom, where two-thirds of working-age youths are jobless. They said investing in human capital is the key to boosting the country’s economy, and also called for providing incentives to the private sector to engage in the process of alleviating unemployment in the Kingdom. “Jordan enjoys a demographic gift that is its young human capital. It is time to take advantage of this gift and use it within the next few years. Developing countries will never become developed unless they properly utilise their human capital,” Omar Razzaz, former director general of the Social Security Corporation, said Thursday. “High growth in China, Korea and Germany is driven by the human capital in these countries.
There is a need for immediate strategies to address the issue of unemployment in Jordan,” he added at the Youth@Work Partnerships for Skills Development conference, which concluded Thursday. Razzaz, a former World Bank country manager for Lebanon, said two-thirds of workers in Jordan receive no more than JD350 as a monthly salary, noting that the Jordanian economy operates at about 33 percent below its potential due to the weak participation of young Jordanians in the labour market. Mohammad Khasawneh, secretary general of the Ministry of Social Development, said the private sector shoulders a responsibility in addressing the issue of unemployment in Jordan. He stressed the importance of replacing guest workers with Jordanians, adding that providing training for young people is important to help them enter the labour market.
Khasawneh also called for addressing the culture of shame among young Jordanians. The conference, held by the International Youth Foundation (IYF) and the Arab Urban Development Institute, attracted more than 250 representatives of the public and private sectors, and civil society organisations from 17 countries, IYF Country Director Rana Al Turk said Thursday. She added that the several initiatives launched at the opening of the conference on Tuesday will help employ young Jordanians and equip them with skills needed in the labour market. The conference is part of an annual series of major conferences and learning events supported by the World Bank’s Global Partnership for Youth Employability, the MasterCard Foundation and USAID.