President of the World Bank Group David Malpass asserted that the bank is committed to creating spaces for exchanging ideas with youth, especially in pressing issues facing new generations.
He highlighted youths’ important role in ending poverty, fostering gender equality, and leading the development march.
Addressing the fourth edition of Egypt’s World Youth Forum — which kicked off on Monday — via video conference, Malpass said that the coronavirus pandemic has caused an unprecedented impediment in daily life and the business climate, especially in the Middle East and Africa region, where youths represent a large number of the population.
He noted that the UNESCO and UNICEF’s reports in December showed that the world risks losing $70trn in global GDP as a result of school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“About one million people in the Middle East and North Africa will demand job opportunities by 2050,” he said.
“We must enable the labour market to provide them with sustainable and better opportunities, and we must reduce social and economic barriers and strengthen the legislative environment for work.”
Furthermore, he stressed the need to take advantage of digital technology that enables young entrepreneurs to be productive, as well as improve social inclusion in order to enhance the resilience of young people in fragile environments and provide services to build resilience and the ability to recover.
He also emphasised the need to significantly strengthen countries of the Middle East and North Africa to support their resilience in the face of shocks, and to have greater opportunities for youths in order for this region to remain ahead of the competition.
“Younger generations have a responsibility to participate constructively in the decision-making process that affects them,” he said. “We at the World Bank Group look forward to engaging in discussions with you in this regard.”