Building a multi-stakeholder strategic framework for employment.
Liberia’s population is predominantly composed of youths, with over 60% below 35 years old. This young population presents both an opportunity and a challenge for the country’s struggling economy. Marked by insufficient local infrastructure and underdeveloped markets, Liberia has failed to create employment opportunities for most of its working-age population. By adequately preparing its young people for the workforce and creating the markets necessary to absorb its working-age population, the country can build a productive workforce that will guarantee economic growth. To understand the interest of private sector firms in creating and supporting a youth employment initiative, Mercy Corps collaborated with TRIBE, as an independent consultant, to conduct an assessment to determine the feasibility of creating a youth employment task force comprising multi-sector stakeholders to create youth employment opportunities.
The findings will inform Mercy Corps’ efforts to work with the Government of Liberia, its partners, and current and future firms to create a sustainable initiative that benefits young people and businesses across Liberia.
Cultivating entrepreneurship in Liberia
SMEs drive structural changes and create economic prosperity. Particularly, as the entrepreneurial ecosystem grows and develops, participating SMEs create job opportunities, supporting people’s transition to financial security, and potentially, economic freedom. However, young local Liberian entrepreneurs struggle with setting up formal business structures and raising capital for their businesses.
To understand and address some of these challenges, JPL Consumer, Inc. in partnership with TRIBE, designed and executed the JPL Startup Challenge for young entrepreneurs in Liberia in efforts to provide needed support through a formal pitch and business development training and the provision of a non-equity, non payable capital investment.
Harnessing Liberia’s potential demographic dividend: The education that works.
By 2034, Africa is projected to be home to a working-age population of over 1.1 billion, eclipsing the equivalent populations in both China and India (McKinsey, 2016). Fortunately for these prospective workers, the growth of Africa’s economy in the twenty-first century has been rapid, particularly within regional hubs providing the continent with an “economic pulse and new commercial vibrancy” (McKinsey 2010:1). Yet, despite this growth, the continued expansion of Africa’s bulging working class threatens to undermine these gains. Though not inherently detrimental to development, this youth bulge is projected to produce a distorted dependency ratio that leaves a larger portion of the continent’s workforce without the skills necessary to access Africa’s newfound riches. In order to avoid this outcome, innovative economic and educational programs need to be implemented to
ensure that Africa’s youth are prepared to excel within twenty-first-century economies (Lin, 2012).
In this report, we highlight what these circumstances mean for the economic future of Liberia by analyzing the gaps extant within the country’s education and employment framework.
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