World Bank highlights jobs creation’s role in development

A young man works at a concrete structures production plant in Kazakhstan. Photo by: Kubat Sydykov / World Bank / CC BY-NC-ND

When the World Bank released development reports that focused on conflict, security and gender equality, several donors launched programs and initiatives targeting the same sectors. Will we now see jobs creation-focused projects and initiatives in 2013?

In its latest World Development Report, the World Bank underscored the importance of having enough quality jobs in developing countries. The availability of jobs can help reduce poverty, make cities work and direct youths away from violence. This is not the first WDR to cite the importance of jobs, but it is the first to focus on jobs creation and its direct benefit to development.

“A good job can change a person’s life, and the right jobs can transform entire societies. Governments need to move jobs to center stage to promote prosperity and fight poverty,” World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in a press release.

The World Development Report 2011 and 2012 centered on conflict and security, and gender equality, respectively.

The World Bank’s call for greater focus on development projects for conflict-affected regions in 2011 was well received by the international community. The bank helped restore vital services in Libya, one of the countries in the Middle East and North Africa region that saw a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests beginning in late 2010.

But the international financial institution was not the only donor to come to Libya’s aid; the United Nations restored its presence in the country to assist in stabilizing the security situation and responding to humanitarian needs. And Libya was not the only country to benefit:  Canada extended substantial financial support for 25 initiatives in Africa, and the European Union increased its support for community rehabilitation projects and humanitarian aid in the Palestinian territories and Libya.

Projects geared toward promoting gender equality and women empowerment, meanwhile, were launched this year. Among notable initiatives are the United Nations’ commitment to empower rural women and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s increased funding for programs addressing gender-based violence.

And, on the same day World Development Report 2013 was released, the African Development Bank announced upcoming projects on African youth training, employment and future prospects.

The 2013 report also noted the critical role of the private sector in creating jobs and how important it is for governments to work closely with the private sector. Presently, the private sector contributes “90 percent of all jobs.”

The report outlined a three-pronged approach for governments as well:

  • Solid fundamentals, including a good business environment, have to be in place.

  • Labor policies should be for the protection of the most vulnerable, not an obstacle to jobs creation.

  • Governments should identify the right jobs for their country context and remove obstacles to the creation of these jobs.

“Focusing on key features of different country types can help identify more clearly the kinds of jobs that would make the greatest contribution to development in each case,” the report adds. Doing so can help ease the process of creating jobs, as it would not only help identify the priorities and relevant constraints, but address them as well.

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About the author

  • Adrienne Valdez

    Adrienne Valdez is a former staff writer for Devex, covering breaking international development news. Before joining Devex, Adrienne worked as a news correspondent for a public-sector modernization publication.