Facing a challenging scenario with high youth unemployment rate, increasing digitalized economy and need for social development projects, the UNCTAD has launched a campaign to stimulate new generations to become entrepreneurs.
The #e4youth campaign was announced during the 2017 UNCTAD E-commerce week, from 24-28 April, in Geneva. It came at a crucial moment when governments are looking to develop strategies on how to deal with a changing economic and social landscape brought about by the digital economy.
“E-Commerce can unlock new opportunities for young entrepreneurs. Not by accident but from deliberate, targeted acts of inclusion and empowerment”, said UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi, adding ” We cannot leave this important generation behind”.
The words of the Secretary-General resonate with the UN Sustainable Development Goals motto: Leave no one behind. According to the International Labour Organization (2016) and Youth Business International, 71 million young people are currently unemployed and the global youth unemployment rate to expected rise by 13% in 2017. #e4youth campaign is a call for the international community to support and enable youth to contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by creating new businesses, jobs, and digital solutions for the future.
“The digital transformation implies disruptive changes to business models across sectors thereby affecting the nature of jobs and the skills young people need to successfully enter the labour market”, said Dr. Kituyi. “We must create opportunities for the young generation and consider them as partners in all our discussions for a successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda”, added Dr. Kituyi.
One of the special guests of the E-Commerce week was Jack Ma, founder and chairman of the Alibaba Group, and UNCTAD’s Special Adviser for Youth Entrepreneurship and Small Business. “Globalization is still the solution, and trade is still the solution for solving job creation in the next 30 years”, said Jack Ma. At the UNCTAD E-Commerce Week, youth agreed that technologies and e-commerce offer the opportunity to chart a new path for globalization and provide huge potential to drive inclusive and sustainable development in a rapidly changing economic environment. “E-Commerce is for young people, it is for small businesses. And I think globalization and trade are the solution for job creation in the next 30 years” said Jack Ma.
During the e-commerce session, young men and women shared experiences and expressed their views on key issues to address in order to allow young people to contribute to and benefit from the digital economy.
#e4youth is linked to the sustainable development goals 1 (poverty), 4 (skills development), 5 (gender equality), 8 (decent work and inclusive economic growth), 9 (industry, innovation, and infrastructure) and 17 (partnerships for development).