Hundreds of millions of jobs are needed to lower the global unemployment rate.
For the poor, a job is the surest route to a better life. Without work, it’s hard—often impossible—for people to care for themselves or their families. Social and economic unrest follow. The cycle repeats. Poverty intensifies.
That’s why unemployment is the most pressing challenge of our time. Nowhere is the situation more urgent than in developing countries, home to three-quarters of the world’s jobless—around 150 million people.
Hundreds of millions of jobs are needed simply to keep up with population growth and make a dent in the global unemployment rate. It won’t be possible without the private sector, which already accounts for 90 percent of the jobs in developing countries. We’re working with our clients and partners to ensure that the private sector doesn’t just create lots of jobs, but creates good jobs—jobs with safe working conditions, good benefits, and plenty of opportunity for workers to move up to better jobs.
The situation is acute in the Middle East and North Africa region, where young people in particular haven’t received training or education relevant to the needs of today’s labor market. IFC is addressing that mismatch by mobilizing donor partners, working with our extensive client network, and investing in high-quality education under our e4e Initiative for Arab Youth.
We’re also financing crucial job-producing projects. Our $250 million investment in Egypt’s Orascom Construction Industries is expected to provide more than 2,500 jobs and help boost agricultural production.
We know that the benefits of our investment and advisory work aren’t always so direct. They can be indirect, and tricky to measure. Our work to promote access to finance and strengthen the investment climate, for example, translates into jobs that wouldn’t otherwise exist, but these effects aren’t easy to capture.
To better understand our indirect impact on jobs, we conducted an open-source study on IFC’s contributions to job creation, a first-of-its-kind undertaking designed to deepen our understanding of the private sector and employment, and shape the way we make decisions. Early findings have provided key insights into the links between economic growth, productivity, and job creation.
That information, and the lessons we learn from our clients, won’t be applied just to IFC’s work. It will help policymakers, other development finance institutions, and private companies fuel entrepreneurship, competitiveness, and, ultimately, job creation.