Romania's workforce exodus

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IFC leadership is increasingly emphasizing job creation as a goal for our work. An excellent article in yesterday's FT should light a fire at our feet, as it demonstrates the time pressures in creating these jobs. The article - about migration from a Romanian village to western Europe - is touching in that the mayor's optimism seems no more than a happy face on a sad situation.

A generation of Romanians in their 20s and 30s are moving abroad to work and sending money back to the village to build homes. They live in tightly-knit Romanian communities abroad and speak of returning home once suitable jobs appear. The Romanian economy is growing at a tidy 7%, unemployment is just 5%, and EU membership is set for January 1. So why don't I share the mayor's optimism?

With (the most entrepreneurial) 20% of its working-age population abroad and a still agriculturally-focused economy, Romania would have to advance by leaps and bounds in order to offer these workers both engaging career prospects and the European lifestyle to which they're growing accustomed. Realistically, there are perhaps 15 years to create the job opportunities that will put the "temporary" in this generation of temporary migrants.

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