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Key Messages

Youth unemployment is a significant and serious challenge to sustainable development in the World today!

There are more than 1 billion young people aged 15-24 in the world today, of which 85 per cent live in developing countries. The 50 poorest countries in the world will more than double their population, from 0.8 billion in 2007 to 1.7 billion by 2050. Youth are generally three times more likely than adults to be unemployed and today there are close to 80 million unemployed young women and men in the world. It is estimated that almost 100 million young people will be entering the global workforce every year for the next ten years.

Decent work and productive employment must be at the heart of tackling the global youth unemployment challenge!

Sustained, determined and concerted efforts must be taken by the public, private and civic sectors globally. Decent work for young people cannot be achieved through fragmented and isolated actions, but requires, on the one hand, integrated strategies for growth and employment creation and, on the other, targeted policies and programmes for in-school and out-of-school youth that help young people overcome the barriers they face in entering the labour market.

Youth entrepreneurship must be an essential element of youth employment strategies to help turn job seekers into job creators!

Youth entrepreneurship is increasingly being recognized as a valuable strategy for unleashing the productive and innovative potential of young people. It empowers them to create jobs and contribute positively to a sustainable economy and society. The promotion of youth entrepreneurship is therefore an important means of creating employment and ensuring that countries are able to benefit from the socio-economic potential of their young population. However, programmes to promote entrepreneurship as a career path for young people need to be carefully planned; entrepreneurship is both demanding and inherently risky- particularly for young people who are already passing through a tenuous and vulnerable transition in their life.

Fostering an entrepreneurial culture through entrepreneurship education and access to enterprise start up training empower youth!

Entrepreneurship education should be started at an early age and young entrepreneurs should be supported by national cultures of entrepreneurship and have access to effective entrepreneurship development tools to achieve their full potential. Through entrepreneurship education, business start-up training and support programmes young women and men can acquire the needed attitudes, knowledge, skills and behaviours that increase their chances to obtain decent work by becoming more employable or by acquiring the assets to start their own businesses.

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