World faces "epidemic of youth unemployment" says UN chief

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Youth Center in downtown Nairobi. UNFPA/Roar Bakke Sorensen (NICA ID: 545292)

Governments around the world have been urged by the UN Secretary-General to solve what he described as "an epidemic of youth unemployment."

Speaking at an event organized by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva on Wednesday, Ban Ki-moon called for more investment in youth employment initiatives.

He said that many young people are stuck in low wage work with no protection in the informal economy while others find that their schooling has not equipped them with the right skills.

"We are facing a great test of our time-an epidemic of youth unemployment. Half of the world's young people in the labour force are either working poor or unemployed. The global youth unemployment situation is intolerable, particularly for young women. In countries rich and poor, unemployment rates for young people are many times those of adults." (27")

According to the ILO, over 74 million young people are unemployed worldwide and a further 228 million are what it calls "working poor."

The agency says that over the next decade about 400 million jobs will need to be created just to keep up with new entrants to the labour market who are expected to be mostly young people.

Sophie Outhwaite, United Nations.

Duration: 1’26″

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