4 million jobs need to be created in next 5 years: Study
KABUL (Pajhwok): Accounting for half the population of the country, youth needemployment opportunities, particularly in the education sector, to play a proactive role in Afghanistan’s development, suggested a new study on Sunday.
Titled Investing in Youth: How to Realise Afghanistan's Demographic Dividend,the study was conducted by UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund and the Ministry of Information and Culture.
According to the study, 63% of the country’s population is comprised of youth and over the next five years 4 million of them attain employment age. It adds as many jobs should also be created during the period.
Information and Culture MinisterAbdul Bari Jahanitold journalists Afghanistan had a greater youth population than its neighbours. He said their talent needed to be tapped for the country’s future.
“Peace and stability lie in the hands of this segment. We should create platforms for the growth of young men and women’s talents,” he remarked.
Jahani said apart from positive aspects of development, youth’s population density could also create a crisis. Unemployment, illiteracy, diseases like AIDS and long-term wars are the factors endangering lives of youth.
Economy MinisterAbdul Sattar Murad confirmed Afghanistan had a strong youth population and investment in the force could result in a bright future. But he warned they -- if not assisted with employment, education and empowerment -- had the potential to push society into a crisis.
He said Afghanistan’s population was one of the youngest in the world with 41.6 percent of its citizens below 15 years of age. This, he warned, was not only a vulnerable age but could also be a burden on the country economically.
Of the 7.2 million workforces in the country, Murad said, only 19 percent had permanent jobs, while 81 percent having vulnerable employment. In the world, 80 percent of the workforce is employed by the private sector and 20 percent by the government.
But in Afghanistan,where 40 percent of the people are employed in the agriculture sector the minister explained, the situation was reverse.
Nasrin Oryakhel, minister of labour and social affairs, said experience in some countries showed economic and social empowerment needed a technical and skilled force, in which investment was required.
Dr. Annette Sachs Robertson, UNFPA representative in Afghanistan, said apart from boys it was also imperative to invest in girls.Empowerment of women and girls, she said, was vital for countries with high birth rates.
She said major studies around the world have shown that investment on girls from childhood and adolescence was an important factor on economy.
Robertson added the fertility rate had decreased from 6.3 percent to 5.1 percent in the last 10 years and the use of family planning methods had increased.
“Currently 20 percent of married women use a modern contraceptive method, which demonstrates how Afghan couples are increasingly enjoying their right to plan families,” she observed.
Meanwhile, according to the World Bank, around 180,000 youth are reaching the working age annually. Of them, only 60,000 could be employed.
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