June 14, 2017 By Mohamed Massaquoi
World Bank Country Manager has observed that one of the major challenges facing the country in providing job facility, especially for youth, was lack of the required skills for the job market.
Parminder Brar made the statement at a one-day workshop organized by the bank in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Ministry of Youth Affairs, at Miatta Conference Centre in Freetown.
He said the bank has conducted two important surveys that directly dealt with job creation and required skills in Sierra Leone.
He said recent labour market survey on the unemployment rate in Sierra Leone put the country at 2.89%, which means that the unemployment rate is still high.
The World Bank Country Manager stated that the most pressing issue as at now is the lack of skills that would allow young people to be gainfully employed in secured and reliable jobs, adding that it was significant that people from various backgrounds were invited to share ideas and chart the way forward as to how the issue of unemployment could be addressed.
“We have invited farmers from Bonthe, miners from Kono, fishermen from Tombo and son on- so that they could frankly discuss as to how we address this unemployment. We would go away from the normal academic work and ask them to tell us their needs. What is happening here is not only in Sierra Leone but across the globe,” he said, adding that they brought in a skills developer from Ghana to help in the process.
Minister of Youth Affairs, Bai Mamoud Bangura, said youth unemployment was one of the biggest concerns, not only in Sierra Leone but the world over, adding that the government of Sierra Leone has been working hard to address the situation.
He said immediately after the war in the country, a lot of young people were trained and given tools in order to work on their own but there were no job market hence sold their tools.
“The intervention by the World Bank was timely especially when President Ernest Bai Koroma has assured the youth of his unflagging support,” he said.
Chairman of the Youth Council, Prince Tholley, said they were pleased with the way the confab was organized, especially when they have been talking about youth unemployment and the challenges attached to it.
He said the Youth Council should be the major celebrant of the workshop because it was a program for youth.
“We have now seen the essence of having a separate Ministry for Youth Affairs. We hope and pray that all other ministries collaborate with the youth Ministry to solve the problems of youth in this country,” he said.