The Vice President of Liberia, Joseph N. Boakai says that developing nations grappling with youth unemployment issues need effective strategies and interventions to adequately address the situation that has the proclivity to undermine peace and stability in such countries.
Vice President Boakai underscored that a whole generation of Liberians was still underdeveloped since the 1979 rice riots, followed by series of political and military upheavals up to the 1990 civil war which lasted for more than 14 years. He emphasized the urgent need for something positive to be done to address this problem of the youth at the time, who are now adults without any experience of a peaceful and prosperous society.
The Vice President made the remarks last weekend when a four-man delegation from the World Bank, accompanied by officials of the Liberia Youth Empowerment Program of the Ministry of Youth and Sports paid him a courtesy call at his Capitol Hill office to brief him on the status of discussions on the creation of job opportunities for Liberian Youth.
He told the delegation that stakeholders in these discussions must speed up the process and identify areas of intervention that will be clear and impactful on the youth population, through the creation of job opportunities.
The Vice President spoke about agriculture being one area with the most potential. He also named carpentry, masonry, poultry, as well as food processing as other areas of potential to make immediate impact on the lives of the youth, if partners collaborate with the government and speedily take steps in addressing unemployment problems.
The head of the World Bank delegation, Mr. Suleiman Namara, informed the Vice President about the US$10m set aside by the World Bank for the youth program in Liberia, noting that it was important to find a way to engage in these programs quickly in the different intervention areas that could bring long-term benefits to the youth of Liberia.
He added that they bank was also engaged in discussions with the European Union on this matter.
The World Bank delegation hailed the Government of Liberia for the level of progress made thus far in the area of youth development, and spoke of the high level of collaboration between line ministries and the World Bank.