Liberia Youth Unemployment to Incite Conflict

Liberia Youth Unemployment to Incite Conflict

While visiting Brussels, Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf expressed concern over the country’s youth unemployment and the connection to new conflict, Reuters reported.

According to the article, unemployment and a lack of jobs is catalyst for instability and further encourages Liberia’s fragile state categorization.

“Peace and security in Liberia is still an issue because of the young unemployed, and until we can address that, there’s always hanging over us the chance that there may be a resumption of conflict,” Johnson Sirleaf told Reuters.

Last December, the International Labour Organization (ILO) for Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone covered Liberia’s youth unemployment problem highlighting a rare graduation ceremony for a youth job program. Due to the civil war, 40 percent of youths at least 15-35 years of age lack proper education, ILO wrote.

Speaking in Brussels, Johnson Sirleaf called for more job training programs saying:

“These are the young people who were bypassed by an education. We’ve got to give them the means whereby they can have a livelihood, whereby they can get their dignity back and support themselves.”

In a separate October 2013 ILO report it was revealed that of the majority of youth turn to informal methods of seeking employment like reaching out to family and friends. About 8 percent make an effort to register at employment centers, while 13.4 percent answered job advertisements.

Overall, 28.3 percent of the youth population and 35 percent of the youth workforce is unemployed according to this report — and 33 percent of unemployed youths are willing to settle for low-skill, low-education jobs.

According to Reuters, Johnson Sirleaf also advocated for solid infrastructure of fragile (poverty stricken, poorly governed) states like Liberia. Infrastructure, she believes will help more youth attain jobs and education while encouraging double-digit economic growth.