Jobs: the gorilla in the Davos living room


Director-General of the International Labour Organization

In the past few days, I’ve had a chance to talk to some of the leaders who thronged Davos for the annual World Economic Forum.

Some were upbeat over the global economic recovery – however tepid – but I also heard a lot of concern over growing inequality, rising unemployment and the bleak outlook for young people.  Continue reading

Turning childhood dreams into a decent future


Decent Work Technical Support Team for East and South-East Asia and the Pacific

In a hot and bustling Jakarta suburb, a group of young girls – and one boy – charm me with their songs, dances, messages, and laughter. Like other healthy teenagers around the world, they sing and dance to the music of Justin Bieber and Bollywood, text their friends and family, chatter about trends, their dreams and aspirations.

They are the lucky ones. They have a childhood – finally. Continue reading

My story as a young entrepreneur in Zambia


Founder and CEO of Tapera Bio Industries Limited, he received entrepreneurship training as part of the ILO’s Youth Employment Project in Zambia.

As the sun comes up over Lusaka, a city I share with 2 million others, business is well under way and has been since 3 a.m. The trucks carrying produce from the farms around the city are the first to arrive in the early hours before I wake.

As soon as I do, I am up and out, looking for new contacts and investments to help support and grow my bio-fuel company. Such is the life of a young entrepreneur in this town. Every day is a new opportunity to meet the challenges of keeping a small business alive.

I’m 28 but first started my business in 2006 when I was 21, after being inspired by a TV documentary on renewable energy in Brazil. I put the project on hold for a while to work as an aircraft technician at Zambian Airways Limited. However, they went out of business and I came back to the bio-fuel idea. My alternatives were few, as formal, decent employment opportunities are hard to come by in my country. In fact, a vast majority of young workers are in the informal economy. Continue reading