Youth and Employment Among the BRICS Analysed in Our New Publication
31 March 2014, Brasilia: The IPC-IG pre-launched its latest Policy in Focus publication titled “Youth and Employment Among the BRICS”, on March 18th at the BRICS Academic Forum held in Rio de Janeiro, as a prelude to the official launch taking place in April 2014. The issue is dedicated to the analysis of the usage of social programmes to promote youth employment in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries. The 2014 BRICS Academic Forum officially transferred the responsibilities of host country, South Africa to Brazil, providing an impetus to understand how the BRICS countries have made use of their extensive expertise in social policies and programmes to go beyond mitigation of crisis, towards the realisation of young people’s ambitions.
The special issue commences with a comparative article from the editors (“To BRICS or not to BRICS: the Dilemma of Youth Unemployment” by Rafael Guerreiro Osório, Director of Social Policies and Studies, Institute for Applied Economic Research and Pedro Lara de Arruda, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth), followed by an article by UNICEF on adolescence (“Why to Invest in Adolescents” by Mário Volpi, UNICEF National Program on Adolescence). The issue then proceeds to introduce specific sections dedicated to each BRICS country as per their respective order within the BRICS acronym. The opening articles of each section provide a general overview of social programmes and the creation of jobs for young people, while the closing articles from each section provide studies focused on the promotion of youth employment through more specific social programmes.
In an analysis of Brazil’s youth employment situation (“A Brief Overview of Youth Turnover in the Brazilian Formal Labour Market” by Carlos Henrique Corseuil and Miguel Foguel, Institute for Applied Economic Research; Gustavo Gonzaga, Catholic University of Rio and Eduardo P. Ribeiro, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro), the authors point out that keeping a job is more of a problem than getting one for youth today. Ana Lobato and Valéria Labrea (General Secretariat of the Brazilian Presidency) qualify other social characteristics that lead to youth unemployment, such as race, gender and educational background in Brazil in “Youth and Employment: a Contribution to the Dialogue on Public Policy”.
An overview of the Russian Federation’s changing demographic composition, its federative set-up and other structural challenges that have an impact on youth employment/unemployment is then provided (“Youth Employment Policies of the Russian Federation: Opportunities and Challenges” by Alexandra Karpova, Universitat Autònoma Barcelona; Anna Bilous, University of Cambridge & Michael MacLennan, IPC-IG/UNDP). Then Jayati Gosh (Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University) highlights the weaknesses of the Indian government and its recent setbacks in its attempt to promote social protection for young people in “Social Policy in India: Impacts and Challenges for Youth”. Contrastingly, Ravi Shrivastava (Centre for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University) presents encouraging findings from his study on the possibilities of India building a youth-friendly Social Protection Floor by the end of its 13th Five Year Plan (2021-22) in “India: Social Protection and Youth”.
The section dedicated to China presents two complementary articles. The first, (“China, Social Protection and Implications for Youth Employment” by Minquan Liu, Peking University and Asian Development Bank Institute), shows how social investment in youth, before economic-liberalisation of China, created human capital crucial to China’s recent economic boom. Zhu Ling’s (Institute of Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Science) “Public Works, Job Creation and Poverty Reduction in Rural China” then exposes the improvements in job creation programmes that were possible due to the enhanced role the market played in the strategies adopted since this economic liberalisation.
Finally, the issue turns to an examination of South Africa, which faces the biggest challenges in terms of youth unemployment among the BRICS countries. The country is home to a plethora of social programmes dedicated to improving the scenario, traversed in the last four articles of the issue. The first one, (“Social Safety Nets and Youth Job Creation: The South African Case” by Avinash Govindjee, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University), provides an overview of the South African situation vis-a-vis other countries and its BRICS partners, while at the same time introducing four national initiatives. Marianne Ulriksen (University of Johannesburg and Centre for Social Development in Africa) and Lauren Graham (Centre for Social Development in Africa and the University of Johannesburg) then highlight the gap in safety nets that affects South Africans as they turn 18 years old in “18 Years Old? You Are on your Own: Safety Nets & Youth Employment in South Africa”. Letlhokwa Mpedi (Centre for International and Comparative Labour and Social Security Law, University of Johannesburg) also presents an extensive description of social programmes that promote jobs for young people in South Africa, while at the same time debating proposed laws in this regard, and evaluating the extent to which beneficiaries of such programmes successfully find stable jobs afterwards in “Job Creation Policies for South African Youth — The Role of Safety Nets”. Finally, Maikel Lieuw-Kie-Song (“Expanded Public Works Programme: Employing Youth to Build Stronger Communities”, Independent Consultant and Researcher) looks at the Expanded Public Works Programme to understand how it succeeds in targeting opportunities for young people and, at the same time, also fosters communitarian initiatives, which are necessary to buffer the high unemployment rates South Africa is expected to face, even in the best case scenario.
It is hoped that these articles further emphasise the strategic importance of relating social programmes that promote employment to the ultimate goal of protecting the youth of the BRICS countries.
Download the issue here.
See our related publications on youth and employment here:
One Pager #193 – Employment Policies in Brazil: History, Scope and Limitations
One Pager #116 – Employment Policies in Brazil: History, Scope and Limitations
Policy Research Brief #39 – The Employment-to-Population Ratio as an Indicator of Participation and Inclusiveness
One Pager #112 – Rethinking Public Employment Programmes: Moving Beyond Safety Nets?
One Pager #132 – Integrating Public Works and Transfers in Ethiopia: An Innovative
*This article is adapted from the editorial introduction to “Youth and Employment Among the BRICS” by Rafael Guerreiro Osório and Pedro Lara de Arruda.
This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)
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