NEW YORK, 30th March, 2016 (WAM) — United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on the international community to help Tunisia to create new businesses and fund active labour market programmes for young people.

Speaking at a national conference on employment in Tunisia, Mr. Ban emphasised that when young men and women are excluded from decent work, they could become susceptible to extremist discourse, and youth unemployment seriously hinders the sustainable development and growth of a country.

“There are two areas in particular where I see an opportunity for international support here in Tunisia,” he said, underscoring that at 30 percent, the youth unemployment rate in North Africa remains the highest of all regions of the world, with 200,000 young Tunisians jobless.

“First, there is a mismatch between the number of graduates and the number of suitable jobs. This will require targeted policies to help young people build careers for future growth and prosperity. Investment in new businesses is crucial, together with a reduction in cumbersome bureaucratic procedures, and an increase in women’s participation in the labour force,” Mr. Ban said.

“Second, active labour market programmes, targeting young graduates in particular, can be funded by public sector financing and resources from development partners. Trade unions, employers’ organisations and the private sector can help by empowering young people and engaging with youth-led organisations,” he added, welcoming the establishment of an employment fund to support such programmes.