Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Challenges that prevent youth potential in Liberia

Written by: 
Bernard Gbayee Goah
President, Operation We Care for Liberia

There is a limitless untapped potential of young people living in Liberia. The problem remains the unwillingness of government institutions, corporations, and policy-makers to recognize such potential. And this is a Major challenge preventing Liberian youths from reaching their full potential.

Relevant institutions in Liberia must proactively realize the potential of young people if the structures and problems that are keeping youth unemployment rates high must be quenched. The lack of decent jobs resulting from lack of contemporary career educational opportunities is a major contributing factor to youth unemployment, and this is by all means a key source of social and political upheaval in Liberia today. Multitudes of young people are jobless, poor, school dropouts, and uneducated, but they are all demanding their rights and greater voice in economic and political life. There is a need to support initiatives that encourage social contracts that buttress job-rich economic growth. Liberia must make youth Empowerment a priority. 

Government must focus on more and better jobs for young people. Government must be willing to give Big businesses that operate in Liberia tax breaks, and other incentives. This will pave a way for companies to offer jobs, tuitions, and other forms of stipends to young people in Liberia.
Also, Practical discussions on how collaboration among government institutions, social partners, the private sector and young people themselves can be maximized to increase employment must be encouraged. The need to inspire Young entrepreneurs must be prioritized in Liberia.

As potential natural resources that enhance economic growths in Liberia are finite and continue to deplete day by day, Government must give tax breaks to companies whose operations are bent on going green. Government must also encourage green educational career among young Liberians pursuing education at all levels. Green career is the way forward. Technological innovations by means of Green oriented initiatives come from accessible local resources. And such resources are availably abundant in Liberia. In fact, they are environmentally save, renewable in nature, and durable if used pragmatically.  

The Liberian government must encourage the use of new but green technologies in school curriculums so that young Liberians would be exposed to the idea of “Going Green” at an earlier stage in their pursuit of education. Government can realize this potential if policy-makers become more aware that the pillows of any successful country rest on government’s support of the potential of the youths to pursue their dreams.

Lastly, government must strengthen human capital in green educational endeavors as well as open up non-rigid labor markets that guarantee youth employment.  Without economic growth, getting young people to work is a complete illusion because there will be no new jobs as more and more people are born. Reinventing government’s monetary policy that focuses on youth unemployment cannot be over emphasized at this time. Also, an accompanied durable solution that alleviates youth unemployment in any country is regional collaboration. Regardless of individual economic strength, West African countries, especially Mono River countries must realize the potential of young people and be willing to work together innovatively to solve the long-standing problems of youth joblessness.

Once the realization and support of youth potential is there, government and policy markers can now focus on the willingness aspect and target those structures that perpetuate unemployment thereby making the challenge recognizable and the solution attainable. 

God bless Liberia!