Youth Unemployment in the Caribbean: Social and Economic Backgrounds

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Kazi

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Youth Unemployment in the Caribbean: Social and Economic Backgrounds : Kazi, Tamjidul Huda

Kazi Table of Contents Acronyms Terms of Reference Introduction School-to-Work Transition Some Impediments to Labour Force Entry The Caribbean Context Defining Youth Youth Unemployment Rates Specific Social Problems in the Caribbean Youth Development Policies and Programs in the Caribbean Regional Programs International Development Organizations Global Policy Framework Effectiveness of Youth Policies Conclusion

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Kazi Acronyms AIDS: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome CARICOM: Caribbean Community CDCED: Caribbean Group for Cooperation and Economic Development CIDA: Canadian International Development Agency COSHSOD: Commission for Human and Social Development CYP: Commonwealth Youth Programme DFID: Department for International Development ECLAC: Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Syndrome ILO: International Labour Organization LAC: Latin America and the Caribbean NGO: Non-Governmental Organization NYC: National Youth Council OECS: Organization of Eastern Caribbean States UN: United Nations UNDP: United Nations Development Programme UNFPA: United Fund for Population Activities

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Kazi Terms of Reference The purpose of this paper is to provide the following: a) b) a general perspective of youth unemployment in the Caribbean, social backgrounds contributing to youth unemployment, including specific social, economic, demographic, gender-related, cultural and population-related problems, a summary of existing policies, including

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d) an enumeration of existing national, regional and international programs and policies geared towards youth development and employment generation. Because of the lack of sufficient material and information on the issues addressed, this paper owes a great deal to, and certain passages are directly borrowed from, research by World Bank, ILO and CARICOM. However, the analysis is mine, and I take all responsibility for any errors.

Kazi Introduction

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In his Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle says that “happiness, a state we all pursue, is the full realization of our rationality. In order to be happy, to reach a self-sufficient, attainable, and final end, we should aim at the good.” However, “the full realization” of our potential presupposes the successful attainment of more basic requirements, i.e. necessities such as food, clothing, shelter, and peace of mind, all of which contribute to a person’ eligibility to be a functioning member of society. s It would not be far-fetched to say that gainful employment, i.e. Decent Work1, is the medium through which one attains both these basic requirements and, further on, selfactualization. However, according to the International Labour Organization, 70 million young people2 are actively— -but unsuccessfully— -looking for employment. They represent nearly 40% of the world’ total unemployed. Unemployment levels for this age s group are generally two to three times higher than for the more senior population. In some countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, it is as high as five times the rate for adults over age 45. Many of the young people who are employed find themselves in lowpaying temporary situations with little or no job security. Short spells of unemployment are a natural consequence of the process of job search (especially when a youth is entering the job market). Young people are, to an extent, disproportionately represented amongst new labour market entrants. For this reason alone, one would expect young people to face higher unemployment rates than adults. However, more extended periods of unemployment, which are becoming increasingly prevalent around the world, are the cause of more serious consequences, especially for young people. Since young people are more adaptable but also more impressionable than adults, the long-term scarring effects of long unemployment...
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