Issue 02/2014 - News brief

1 July 2014
ITC News
One million jobs and higher education in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone launched a vast youth plan to create one million new jobs and expand higher education. Supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the initiative aims to provide access to secondary and higher education to 300,000 new students over the next three years. UNDP funded the preparation of the plan and will be helping the government to mobilize resources to implement it.

The programme will focus on creating job opportunities and entrepreneurship in the private sector. It is expected that jobs will be created in sectors as diverse as marketing agricultural products and public works.

According to the National Youth Programme, Sierra Leone has 1.7 million women and men aged between 15 and 35, and 60% of them are unemployed. Only 37% of the school-age population attends high school or university, and half of the country’s young people are illiterate.

OECD: Time for reforms is now

The global economy will strengthen over the coming two years, but urgent action is still required to further reduce unemployment and address other legacies from the crisis, according to the OECD’s latest Economic Outlook.

‘Advanced economies are gaining momentum and driving the pick-up in global growth, while once-stalled cylinders of the economic engine, like investment and trade, are starting to fire again,’ OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said at the launch of the Outlook during the Organisation’s annual Ministerial Council Meeting and Forum in Paris.

Gurría said: ‘With the world still facing persistently high unemployment, countries must do more to enhance resilience, boost inclusiveness and strengthen job creation. The time for reforms is now: we need policies that spur growth but at the same time create opportunities for all, ensuring that the benefits of economic activity are broadly shared.’

WTO: Trend towards increased regionalism could be reversed

The share of trade within major regional trade agreements in 2035 might decline, according to a recently released WTO working paper entitled Simulating world trade in the decades ahead: driving forces and policy implications. The paper suggests that trade cooperation at the multilateral level remains crucial, but it also finds that a dynamic economic and open trade environment will be needed for new players to continue to emerge in the world economy, for South-South trade to intensify, and for countries to diversify into skill-intensive activities.

EU to boost private sector's role on inclusive growth in developing countries

The European Commission adopted a communication on the private sector in international development. The private sector provides some 90% of jobs in developing countries, and is an essential partner in the fight against poverty, the Commission said.

The communication outlines a new strategic framework to ensure that private sector operations in developing countries have a positive impact on society – and particularly on women, young people and the poor.

Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said: ‘The private sector has a crucial role to play in helping people to lift themselves out of poverty, but we have to make sure that it benefits all of society, not just the few.’

Private fund to invest US$ 700 million in sub-Saharan Africa

With a focus on investment opportunities linked to the growth of the emerging middle class across sub-Saharan Africa, global alternative asset manager The Carlyle Group announced the final closure of Carlyle Sub-Saharan Africa Fund, reaching US$ 698 million.

Marlon Chigwende, Managing Director and co-head of the Sub-Saharan Africa advisory team, said: ‘The success of the fundraising reflects investors’ appetite for the strong economic growth that the region has experienced over the last decade, as well as the prospects for future economic development across the continent. Carlyle is one of the first global alternative asset managers to launch a dedicated sub-Saharan African fund.’

The fund has strong support from African investors and also attracted significant capital from investors around the world. Key sectors for the fund include consumer goods, logistics, financial services and telecommunications.

To date the fund has made two investments: Export Trading Group, an African based supply-chain manager headquartered in Tanzania, and J&J Africa, a logistics business headquartered in Mozambique.

Latin American and Caribbean remittances

Remittances remain one of the largest cross-border flows to the Latin American and Caribbean region, totalling more than US$ 60 billion annually. However, these resources still contribute little to formal household savings for poor and vulnerable households, highlighting the importance of banking remittance clients.

The study, Economic Status and Remittance Behavior among Latin American and Caribbean Migrants in the Post-Recession Period, was commissioned by the Multilateral Investment Fund, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, and carried out by the Inter-American Dialogue. It is based on a 2013 survey of 2,000 migrants from countries in Latin America and the Caribbean living in five major United States cities.

Women in the survey reported increases in the average remittance amount sent and the number of transfers per year, while both the amount and frequency of transfers made by men remained stable.