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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

How do we reduce unemployment?

IMF's Masood Ahmed on potential policy prescriptions for unemployment in Central Asia :
A good starting point is to develop better labor statistics, which would help policymakers get a firmer grip on the scale and scope of the unemployment problem and, in turn, help them formulate policies to tackle it.

On a basic level, governments in the region could do more to nurture private-sector development, particularly in sectors outside of mining, oil, and gas. Countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia have made important strides in improving the business environment, but many still lag behind on several indicators, especially the ease of trading across borders—in such areas as the number of documents, procedures, and days needed to export and import. And the region’s low scores on several widely cited governance indicators show that these governments still have work to do on eliminating corruption.

All of these policies could form part of a longer-term strategy for attracting investment and creating jobs in the region. Such a plan is vital, because growth alone is not enough.

It is also important to focus on delivering appropriate education to fit the needs of the economy. To that end, improving education systems to better equip young people with the skills demanded by the marketplace would help solve the skills mismatch problem, where it exists.
We are currently thinking about the same issue in the context of Zambia as part of our Readers Weekly - here and here. A synthesis from these ongoing discussions will be published in due course. What is interesting is that there's nothing magical suggested by Masood Ahmed, but the starting point is cardinal and this is where the previous MMD government failed when it refused to accept proposed legislation to improve employment statistics.  Without data its fruitless to even begin to tackle the problem.

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