Tunisia’s Young Jobless Problem Needs Speedy Action, Joint Workshop Hears

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Tunisia’s jobless youth need fast action from the international community, a workshop co-organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Institute (EADI) and a UN University economics research body, heard on 10 April.

More than a year after Tunisia’s revolution, which sparked the ‘Arab Spring’, the level of youth unemployment remains a serious challenge. The delegates agreed on the need to develop short-term and long-term strategies for job creation.

It is a problem that reaches across the North African region, and is getting worse rather than better because the 15-29 age group is growing at a faster rate than the average in the North Africa.  This ‘youth bulge’, which began in the 1990s, is expected to last until 2020.

The seminar, entitled ‘Employment and Labour Markets in Tunisia’ brought together experts and key players from Tunisian society.

AfDB’s research director, Steve Kayizzi-Mugerwa, opened the workshop and stressed the need for quick action to such a pressing problem by using an African saying. He said: “if a hunter waits for the full body of an animal to reveal itself before throwing his spear he risks to get only the tail.”

In June 2011, the AfDB made the first post-financial assistance to post-revolution Tunisia.  It agreed USD 500 million in budget support for Tunisia aimed at job creation, social services, the financial sector, and governance.  

At the formal signing of the agreement at the AfDB’s Annual Meetings in Lisbon, the bank president, Donald Kaberuka, said the AfDB was “the first international institution to come to the table with money, not promises.”

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