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Youth Council Calls For Economic Empowerment

Youth Council Calls For Economic Empowerment
April 05
11:32 2017

Youth training and entrepreneurship are push factors behind four proposals put forward by the Pacific Youth Council to the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting yesterday.

The meeting (FEMM) is held in Fiji to discuss issues pertaining to the economic potential and growth of regional countries which are captured in the Sustainable Development Goals and the Framework for Pacific Regionalism.

The youth council made the proposal with the civil society organisation (CSO) and private sector.

A CSO statement during the meeting yesterday read: “Recognising that the youth population in Forum Island Countries has an annual growth rate of 2 per cent and the region will have a sustained youth explosion.  The youth unemployment rate in the Pacific region is 23 per cent and the situation is particularly dire in countries such as the Republic of Marshall Islands, Kiribati and the Solomon Islands.”

Based on the above statement, Ms Bradburgh said they recommended to FEMM:

 That assessment of job markets and skills sets required is conducted to ensure that youth training is tailored to those specific skill sets. This ensures that the training is relevant to the future needs of the working environment, and to ensure employability in FICs.

 Entrepreneurship training initiatives for young people as this will promote youth economic empowerment through small business development which enables young people to earn a living, be direct economic contributors and to be job creators;

 That a conducive business environment for young entrepreneurs through a 2-year tax free incentive, free business licensing for the first year, and a review of loan regulations tailored specifically for small and micro enterprises to be a focus of FICs; and

 That a youth economic empowerment fund be established to encourage youth entrepreneurship. We highlight the entrepreneurship programs for young people in Japan and Singapore that could be explored in establishing the fund.

“It is very critical that our forum island governments prioritise investing in our young people because they are a productive population who no longer want to be job seekers but also job creators,” Ms Bradburgh said.

She said the economic returns would be much higher if the right intervention and investment was provided for them.

“As a CSO representative, the Pacific Youth Council is very grateful that FEMM has opened up the space for CSOs to engage. This is the first time for CSO’s to engage in the history of FEMM so it is an opportunity not to be missed particularly when we are at a time in the region where everyone is talking about ‘inclusiveness’ in regional policy making processes through the Framework on Regionalism.”

The three-day meeting is facilitated by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

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