By Olusegun Ogundeji – In the latest report on the work of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone UNIPSIL, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has noted that “immense challenges” remain in generating jobs for young people, especially in the country’s current economic climate.
Citing some 800,000 young people in Sierra Leone who are either unemployed, employed without remuneration or underemployed, Mr. Ban stressed that reversing the situation requires stepped up international investment.
He also pointed to three significant developments that could potentially impact UNIPSIL’s efforts to shore up peace in Sierra Leone which occurred in the March-August reporting period.
They are Sierra Leone’s preparedness for the 2012 elections; the initiatives introduced by the Government to wrap up several important mining agreements, which could allow Sierra Leone to become a major mineral exporter; and the presidential elections in neighbouring Guinea. Mr. Ban added that Sierra Leone should strive for the gains of efforts at consolidating peace and fostering national reconciliation not to be reversed.
“While generating great benefits for Sierra Leone, these developments could also carry considerable inherent risks that bring new and complex challenges, which the Government, political parties and other political stakeholders in Sierra Leone will have to anticipate and manage in the immediate future,” the report notes.