(check against delivery)
Dear Mr. Haszczyn,
Dear Mr. Dürrwang,
Dear Prof. Cameron,
Dear Ambassador González,
Dear Mr. Pinheiro,
Excellencies, distinguished colleagues,
ladies and gentlemen,
Welcome to the German House, and welcome to our side-event on this very important topic.
Employment is a fundamental driver of economic development, and it is the main road to poverty reduction. Decent work is addressed particularly in SDG 8 which aims to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable growth and employment and decent work for all. Decent work is the basis for socio-economic participation and especially essential for young people to start their independent lives.
The reasons for unemployment and underemployment are numerous, including insufficient economic growth and ineffective labor market institutions.
To bring young people at risk into employment, it is not enough to only enhance their employability through education and training. In many countries, growth rates are too small or are ‘jobless.’ More private sector dynamism is needed in order to create new jobs.
Education, skills development, an entrepreneurial spirit, a positive work ethic and favorable economic and legal conditions are of major importance for a thriving private sector that creates employment.
The German development cooperation supports measures to bring youth into employment. Examples are entrepreneurship training, improvement of the business environment, support for industrialization efforts, skills development, support for school-to-work transition and facilitation of matching in the labor market.
German development cooperation also seeks to bring business opportunities and the objectives of development cooperation together.
My government has launched a number of initiatives in cooperation with the private sector, such as (with Siemens) in Egypt. Another example is our "Employment for Sustainable Development" initiative with the British Department for International Development (DFID) which seeks to use the economic potential of sub-Saharan Africa in a sustainable way.
The aim of our public-private cooperation is to improve the employment situation in Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. The project’s high-employment goals will be achieved through “employment-effective” business and cooperation models, demand-oriented training and further education, up-scaling and learning. The target groups of the project are poorer working age groups, women and youth.
During the Germany’s 2017 G20 Presidency, G20 members developed the “G20 Initiative for Rural Youth Employment.” It was launched at the Hamburg Summit. Since the majority of people in Sub-Saharan Africa still live in rural areas with limited employment opportunities, the initiative addresses the specific challenges and opportunities for rural youth. The initiative contains numerical targets for the G20. Germany has started to implement the initiative to fulfill its commitments, including through its Special Initiative “One World – No Hunger” as well as other measures such as the AU Skills Initiative.
The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015 and the commitment from all governments to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) created a unique opportunity for us to transform the world by 2030. It calls on us to leave no one behind. Global development has entered a new stage by acknowledging the shared responsibility of all actors from the public and private sectors, civil society and from developing countries and industrialized economies. I would like to call upon the business community to take on this responsibility, particularly by investing in skills development, improving existing jobs and creating new ones.
As the concrete initiatives and academic studies which will be presented today clearly show: It is crucial to leave no one behind. Especially young people at risk, on whom this event focuses today, are a crucial group which we cannot afford to leave behind. A good job is still the best basis for starting an independent life and is a critical safety net.
Our common goals can be achieved only in partnership with governments, the private sector and civil society. The initiatives we discuss today are important steps, calling for more partners to join and implement best practice.
I would like to thank the companies and organizations which are already doing great work in this respect, and thanks especially to Deutsche Post DHL Group and SOS Children’s Villages International for organizing this event. I wish you a fruitful exchange.