WASHINGTON Jan 14 Joblessness is a global
crisis, the head of the World Bank's private sector lender, the
International Finance Corp, said on Monday, as the group
examines ways its investments in developing countries can help
generate more jobs.
"As the world's largest development institution focused on
the private sector, we believe that job creation offers the
surest path out of poverty," said Jin-Yong Cai, IFC's vice
president. "Promoting it in developing countries is a top
priority for us."
The World Bank has estimated about 200 million people
globally are unemployed and that 600 million jobs must be
created in developing nations by 2020 to keep up with population
The International Labor Organization warned in September
that unemployment among young people is likely to rise globally
as slow growth in the euro zone and a weak economic recovery in
the United States hits emerging economies.
For years institutions like the World Bank and the
International Monetary Fund focused on boosting economic growth
as a way to spur jobs, but over the years evidence has shown the
answer lies with the private sector, which provides nine out of
every 10 jobs.
A new jobs study by IFC published on Monday, which looks at
the experiences of more than 45,000 firms in over 100 countries
in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, found that weak
infrastructure, lack of financing for small and medium-sized
enterprises, poor training and skills, and weak investment
climates posed the biggest obstacles to companies and their
efforts to generate more jobs.
It also found that small and medium-sized enterprises
generate the most jobs but they are less productive and pay
less, and do not offer as much training as bigger companies do.
The largest number of jobs are created within companies' supply
chains and their distribution networks, the study found.
Companies operating in Africa cited power shortages as their
biggest constraint and the report said providing reliable
electricity could boost annual job growth by at least four
The study also found that 45 million people enter the
workforce annually although more than one third of companies
studied were unable to find enough people with skills they
A two-day conference organized by IFC in Washington this
week, involving 300 participants, hopes to shine the spotlight
on what global development and financial institutions can do to
help generate more jobs.
Nigel Twose, director of IFC's Development Impact
Department, said it was important that more focus be put on jobs
in IFC's investments "in order to make sure we are asking the
right questions and then come up with a more jobs-focused