Launch of the Photo Exhibition "Aspirations" - Speech by Ms Lizbeth Cullity, Tooa Salamasina HallDec 11, 2015
Hon. Minister Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Leiataua
Representatives of the Diplomatic Corps
Representatives of the UN
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to be here to the launch of this photo exhibition and to be surrounded by so many youth. “Aspirations” gives us the opportunity to talk about youth uneployment, a topic that matters for the Government, the United Nations and the society at large.
In Samoa, youth unemployment is 16.4% rate; this is almost double the national unemployment rate. Approximately two thirds (63%) of out-of-school youths remain economically inactive. And young women living in rural areas are by far the most vulnerable.
These figures are alarming. With less experience, lack of understanding of what the world of work is really like and fewer skills than many adults, young people often encounter particular difficulty accessing work. Challenges in terms of capacity building and improving their employability are big, but the vast majority of young people are talented, hard working and ambitious.
Creativity, determination and ambition…all those skills are essential to ensure economic growth and competitiveness. This photo exhibition aims at showing the reality of Samoan youth but, above all, their tremendous potential and their aspirations for the future.
Simply put, youth unemployment is a waste of talent we can’t afford. Youth need to be able to show the employers what they are capable of.
Youth are at the core of our priorities and that is the reason why the MWCSD and five UN agencies have joined efforts to address youth unemployment through the signing of the One-UN Youth Employment Programme.
Today we are here to reiterate our commitment and willgness to work together for youth and with youth. Youth involvement in decision-making is key to find long-lasting and effective solutions. Today we are here to listen to their voices, and I am excited to know what their dreams are.
To conclude, I would like to thank the youth and congratulate Ernesto and Charles, for the commitment they have shown, for taking this beautiful pictures, for telling these stories and setting this exhibition up.
I would like to finish by saying, let’s all work together to give youth a chance to prove what youth can do.