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UN decries unemployment among Somali youth

Monday July 17, 2017

A man walks past one of the many Internet cyber cafes, which have sprung in Mogadishu, capital of Somalia, May 17, 2012. Internet use has become a popular new hobby among the youth in the capital, which has been enjoying relative peace since August last year following the withdrawal of Al Shabaab fighters. (Xinhua/Faisal Isse)

MOGADISHU, July 16 (Xinhua) -- The UN top envoy in Somalia said Saturday that unemployment among the youth was alarming and urged the authorities to provide vocational training and technical skills to young people in the Horn of Africa nation.

The UN Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Somalia, Michael Keating said that investing in youth skills is an investment in the present and future of Somalia.

"Unemployment among Somali youth is alarmingly high. Low education levels and limited access to technical skills and vocational training opportunities are a real problem with seriously negative implications," Keating said in a statement issued in Mogadishu to mark the World Youth Skills Day.

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According to latest estimates by the International Labour Organization (ILO), Somalia registers one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, with only 33 per cent of its youth employed.

Keating said one of the main reasons for youth unemployment is the mismatch between the skills that the youth can offer and those in demand by employers.

"This mismatch not only impacts the economy, but also hampers the transition to a more equitable, peaceful, prosperous and inclusive Somalia," the UN envoy said.

He said resources are very limited so the challenge is enormous, warning that failure to address it marginalizes young people, which make them more vulnerable to exploitation and radicalization.

With improved education, Keating said, relevant skills and competencies, and access to decent jobs, young people can help accelerate progress on the 2030 Agenda, fostering a prosperous, sustainable and equitable environment for all.

The UN is currently investing 17.5 million U.S. dollars on programs that provide vocational and technical training to Somali youth, equipping them with the skills needed in sectors such as health, construction, mechanical engineering, agriculture and fisheries as well as entrepreneurship.

"These programs are a great investment and extremely valuable, but cannot alone meet the huge demand in Somalia," Keating said and urged Somalia and its partners to invest more in technical and vocational training of young people.

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