By Massoud A. Derhally
Up to 600m jobs will need to be created globally by 2020, mostly in Asia and Africa
More than 200m people are unemployed worldwide and 600m jobs need to be created globally by 2020, mostly in Asia and Africa, according to a study by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and World Bank.
"The private sector, which provides some 90 percent of jobs in developing countries, must be at the core of any response to this double challenge," the organisation said. "Therefore, it is crucial to understand the constraints that private companies face in creating jobs, and the public sector and development finance institutions must help build an environment where these obstacles are removed or minimised."
The global credit crisis put 27m people out of jobs, causing the global number of unemployed people to rise to 200m in 2011, increasing the necessity to create more than 600m jobs over the coming decade as more people enter the work force.
"Unemployment affects young people disproportionately; they are almost three times as likely to be unemployed as adults (these ratios are higher in the Middle East and North Africa region)," the IFC said. "High youth unemployment rates can deteriorate their long-term labour prospects and social attachment, as well as the prospects for the future of their countries."
Unemployment is currently the highest in the Middle East and North Africa. At about 10 percent it is more than double that of East Asia and South Asia, which have the lowest rates at about 4 percent, according to the IFC. The Middle East youth unemployment rate is above 25 percent, while in North Africa it is approximately 24 percent, and in the Arab world it is more than 30 percent for female youth.
Estimates for the Middle East and North Africa region show for every US$1bn invested in infrastructure, over 110,000 additional jobs could be created in oil-importing countries, 49,000 in developing oil exporting countries, and 26,000 in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
The share of employment in agriculture is declining across all regions of the world, but remains high in sub-Saharan Africa, where it accounted for 62 percent of employment in 2011. Employment in services is increasing in all regions, with an average increase of 4 percent from 2000 to 2011, according to the IFC.
The share of employment in manufacturing is increasing in the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Africa.