Small nations fragile

MOST of the Pacific Island countries are small and fragile nations that face development constraints and limited employment opportunities for youth.

Asian Development Bank principal social sector economist for urban and public management — Pacific department, Andrew Parker, made the statement at the workshop on Skills Development for Decent Work in the Pacific hosted by ADB in partnership with the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Pacific Youth Council (PYC).

“Many poor people in Asia and the Pacific live in countries with weak governance, ineffective public administration and rule of law, and civil unrest,” Mr Parker said.

“These countries have been referred to variously as weakly performing countries, fragile states, low-income countries under stress and countries in fragile and conflict-affected situations.

“Quite a few of the smaller countries represented here at the workshop face some very specific challenges and they face a lot of constraints to the development of the country.”

Mr Parker said development challenges in those countries further hindered the work opportunities available for youths, including those with qualifications.

“We heard in the workshop so far that a lot of countries face challenges from students who drop out of school and even students who graduate from high school or university and do not gain employment, and that is a lost economic potential.

“We heard from young people who go abroad to get better qualifications but when they come back to their country and search for a job, it can be very difficult.”

He added those qualified and other youths were forced into low-skilled and a low paid job, which was a loss to the country’s economy because youths were not given the opportunity to be a highly productive member of the society.

“Sometimes these youths have no choice but to resort to alternative income-generating activities and yes, these could be risky and illegal.”

More Stories