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Youth unemployment has grown in prominence on national and global development agendas. In 2007, nearly 70 million young people were out of work. This figure climbed to 72.6 million by 2011. In 2012, young people made up more than 40% of the world’s total unemployed population.
When faced with the youth unemployment crisis worldwide, citizens often turn to governments and experts for guidance and tend to overlook the critical role that youth themselves can play as a strong force for change and innovation. As unemployment continues to hurt the young generation, engaging youth in efforts to address unemployment challenges is more relevant and important than ever.
At a meeting with young professionals at the World Bank Group late last year, President Jim Yong Kim stressed the importance of including youth on the front lines of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. In response to his call, the youth communities at the World Bank Group are jointly launching a Youth Summit using a Development Case Competition as a platform for discussions and results.
The theme of this initiative is “Youth Entrepreneurship: Cultivating an Innovative Spirit to Alleviate Global Youth Unemployment.”
Under this common theme, young people around the world will form teams and participate in a Development Case Competition online. The four cases posed in the competition highlight real-life unemployment issues facing governments and development organizations and are focused on three areas: education, youth employment, and millennial communications. Innovations in these areas will help boost job creation and youth entrepreneurship.
From now to Sept. 8, people between the ages of 18 and 35 are invited to submit proposals that introduce socially innovative solutions to the challenges described in the cases. Award prizes vary by case and may include cash prizes and a chance to personally present your proposal to the implementing partner.
The World Bank Group’s first Youth Summit is scheduled for October 23, 2013 in Washington D.C. The day-long Summit will feature panel discussions on topics related to challenges of youth unemployment by notable experts from the development community and will provide a forum for young people from around the globe to share innovative ideas and development solutions that help create opportunities for employment.
Youth unemployment cannot be solved by governments and experts alone. We believe that, by giving the youth a voice, the young generation can be empowered and transformed from potential victims of unemployment into active agents who offer solutions, promote actions, and inspire real change."