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Youth Entrepreneurship and Employment – outcomes from the Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting chaired by Pakistan in September 2023 | The Business Show

The 10th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting, chaired by the Government of Pakistan in London, secured a range of tangible commitments for young people in the Commonwealth, including AI training opportunities, scholarships, stronger youth networks, new laws to protect vulnerable people, and more opportunities to shape policy.

The three-day summit, held in the Commonwealth headquarters in London from 12 to 14 September, brought together nearly 400 delegates representing a range of regional, national and cultural contexts. These included government ministers, senior officials, young leaders, and representatives from development organisations and civil society.

In the Ministerial Outcome Statement the section on ‘Exploring Opportunities in Youth Entrepreneurship and Employment’ said:-

Para. 41. We acknowledge the youth unemployment crisis facing many member states. We reaffirm the CHOGM 2022 mandate on the imperative of constructing robust pathways for youth employment and agreed to explore the innovative entrepreneurship and employment opportunities, strategies and policies that promote the economic empowerment of young people, focussing on fostering skills acquisition, nurturing entrepreneurship ecosystems, championing apprenticeships, making the economic case for investing in youth, advocacy for tacking public debt and leveraging data for targeted interventions. We agree to promote private-public multi-stakeholder partnerships and adopt a systems approach with the support of the Secretariat in addressing youth unemployment challenges.

42. We note the CHOGM 2022 Communiqué on the pivotal role of trade in transforming economies and spurring sustainable growth, and acknowledge the untapped potential of our youth in this sector. We note the work of the Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs (CAYE) in supporting youth entrepreneurship and promoting regional and intra-Commonwealth trade and agree to support them in these endeavours.

43. We note the transformative potential of blue and green jobs (including in agriculture) in catalysing sustainable economic empowerment and generating employment for young people, noting that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) highlighted that around 8.4 million employment opportunities for youth exist in green and blue jobs. We commit to investing, promoting and expanding green and blue job initiatives for our younger generations, ensuring they are at the heart of our sustainable economic future.

44. We recognise the pivotal role of the creative sectors in economic diversification, cultural expression and innovation, and commit to nurturing and investing in the creative economy, ensuring it thrives as a dynamic force for sustainable development, employment generation and cultural enrichment across member nations.

45. We recognise the dynamic interplay of economic development and social responsibility, and reaffirm the profound potential of social entrepreneurship as a transformative force within the Commonwealth. We acknowledge that socially driven ventures not only catalyse job creation, but also amplify the Commonwealth’s collective strides towards sustainable development, and pledge to foster an environment that nurtures and scales such ventures, ensuring that they contribute significantly to the economy and social well-being. We further agree to champion social entrepreneurship and design policies and programmes to support Social Entrepreneurship.

46. We recognise the significant opportunities that Esports offers in driving youth engagement, employment, fostering innovation in technology and contributing to technological advancements. We recognise that this could add economic value to the member states and welcome partnership with the Global Esports Federation and other stakeholders to further develop initiatives and projects to extend the potential of the Esports for Commonwealth member states.

47. We acknowledge the transformative role of startups in the shifting global economy, emphasizing their potential and the rise of sectors like Esports. We recognise the pivotal impact these areas have on employment generation, innovation, community engagement, and technological advancement, and agree to bolster and strengthen startup and technology ecosystems through appropriate policies and programmes.

48. We recognise the need for and importance of apprenticeship and work-based learning, for its potential for reducing skills mismatch, meeting skills demand of a fast-changing labour market, providing cost-effective training, promoting private sector development, and promoting school to work transition. We welcome the efforts of the Secretariat in promoting apprenticeship and work-based learning, and agree to collaboratively establish and strengthen quality apprenticeship schemes to enable young people to overcome the work-inexperience trap, gain new and enhanced skills and recognized qualifications.

Hear more on Spotify
Dr Faisal Aziz Ahmed, Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner, joined Arif Zaman to discuss international diplomacy; business and cultural relationships between the UK and Pakistan; and the Commonwealth of which Pakistan is just completing its term of as Vice Chair of the Board of Governors.

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