Post-2015 High Level Panel: yes to entrepreneurship and jobs

31 May 2013

Jhanshirani | Supermarket owner | Kanchipuram, India | amongst her shelves

Jhanshirani | Supermarket owner | Kanchipuram, India

600 million new jobs need to be created in the next 10 years, according to ILO (International Labour Organisation), so Hand in Hand (a leading group of NGOs fighting poverty through job creation) welcomes the news that the High Level Panel has put jobs firmly at the top of the post-2015 development agenda by setting its illustrative goal 8 as “Creating Jobs, Sustainable Livelihoods, and Equitable Growth”.

Sven Sandstrom, CEO Hand in Hand International said, “The High Level Panel’s illustrative goals call for “the number of good and decent jobs and livelihoods to increase”. Unemployment threatens the stability of our world as a whole and we hope that this new goal will help to tackle what is one of the biggest global challenges of our time.

Dhatchayani, a tailor in Tamil Nadu, India, using her sewing machine.

Dhatchayani | Tailor | Tamil Nadu, India

At Hand in Hand we have created over 1.3 million jobs (predominantly in India) and seen first-hand that jobs allow individuals and their communities to lift themselves out of poverty”.

The question now is: where will the millions of jobs needed come from? The HLP report hints at a number of answers: “young people in education and training”, “providing universal access to financial services and infrastructure such as transportation and ICT”, “increase new start-ups” and “product innovation”.

Hand in Hand believes the solution lies in nurturing entrepreneurship in the informal sector.

Witness Africa where, according to the African Development Bank Group, the immediate future for the majority of Africans will continue to be in the informal sector which contributes about 55 per cent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP and 80 per cent of the labour force. Nine in ten workers have informal jobs in Africa and most informal sector workers are women and youth.

The informal sector is not the problem, it is the solution: it is the best option available to those who want to use their skills and energy to provide for themselves and their families. Household enterprises have generated most new jobs outside agriculture and this trend will continue.

We welcome the HLP’s call for ‘an enabling business environment and boosting entrepreneurship’ and will work with all partners to extend this to the millions of potential micro-entrepreneurs in developing countries, to empower them to drive equitable economic growth themselves by growing their businesses and creating jobs.

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