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Guardian: Job creation more important than fighting maternal mortality or malaria

The Guardian’s Claire Melamed says new research on development in Sub-Saharan Africa indicates that “providing jobs for young people was considered more important than reducing maternal mortality, providing universal primary education, or reducing the spread of malaria.”

Job creation and retention is a central political strategy for most rich countries, but employment has been surprisingly absent from development thinking. Until now.

Melamed cites the Overseas Development Institute as distilling the research down to five warnings:

1. Don’t assume that growth will automatically create jobs.

2. Don’t assume that jobs will automatically reduce poverty.

3. Don’t fixate on manufacturers.

4. Don’t assume that movement out of agriculture is all one way.

5. Worry about young people.

Says Melamed:

Jobs – and the urgent need to provide them – are rapidly moving up the development agenda. But policymakers must discard some of their cherished assumptions about how to create jobs. Better answers are needed, and fast, if the global employment crisis is to be fixed.

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About Author

Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at]humanosphere.org or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.