By: Abdurrahman Shamlan
A conference aiming to involve Yemeni youths in the country’s workforce and to strengthen the relationship between youths and the private business sector was launched on Tuesday in Sana’a Movenpick Hotel.
The conference, which was given the theme “Building Institutions… Developing Communities,” was held in cooperation with the Yemeni Council of Businessmen and the civil society organization Himmah Shabab Organization for Development.
More than 120 representatives from youth federations, forums, and organizations took part in the conference with the aim of developing a unified vision and agree on a single initiative.
The conference was attended by high-ranking governmental officials and diplomats, including Prime Minister Mohammed Basindowa, the Minister of Youth and Sports, and Minister of Information Ali Al-Amrani.
In his speech, Basindwah praised efforts by the Himmah Shabab organization to hold the conference, and pledged full support for the country’s youth.
He called for a bolstered partnership and deepened relationship between the youth and the private sector, explaining that this could push the wheel of Yemeni development forward.
Basindowa hailed youths who seek to improve institutional development in Yemen, and underlined the importance of holding such conferences in what he called a critical period in the nation’s history.
“We are really proud of the youth, as they have proven that they are aware of their essential role in building a new Yemen. We took notice of this awareness among the youth after they led the revolution against the former regime and sacrificed their lives for the sake of a better future,” he said.
For his part, Fathi Abdul-Waseh H. Saeed, a well-known businessman who heads the Council of Yemeni Businessmen, pointed out that statistics showed that about a third of Yemen’s populations are youths.
Saeed said, “If youths worked voluntarily for only two hours per day, it would mean that in total, youths worked for 64 million hour per month. If this number of hours was geared towards serious work and clear objectives that would significantly push development forward.”
“Involving youths in the workforce will keep them away from bad habits like chewing qat and smoking. It will further ensure that they don’t fall victim to and join extremist and terrorist groups,” Saeed added.
Himmah Shabab director Mohammed Murad al-Motaher pointed out that the conference aims to enhance institutional employment in Yemen, and emphasized its role in national development.
“Yemen is going through a very critical period, one which requires hard work from all Yemenis, but especially the youths, who represent the pillars of this nation,” said al-Motaher.
Minister of Information Ali Al-Amrani told National Yemen that the conference was very important, and particularly so as it was organized by Yemeni youths.
In a statement to National Yemen, businessman Fathi Abdul-Waseh Saeed said,” We [the private sector] extended our hands to the youth because of our solid believe in their rights. We are working to make sure that the youths are involved in the workforce in private sector companies.”
Saeed said he felt the conference represented a new page in a new era in the relationship between youths and the private sector in Yemen.”
“The private sector did not carry out its mission of hiring the youths, but that is so because of some obstacles, chief among which is an educational system which didn’t meet the market’s needs. If there was a good educational system which is in line with market needs, we would be more than happy to hire the youths as, after all, they represent manpower,” he said.
While many members from various participating youth federations regarded the conference highly, some expressed skepticism about the conference’s success and argued that many conferences were being held but that nothing had been achieved on the ground.
“We really lost our faith in such conferences because the previous ones ended in vain, consensus agreements being reached,” said Saleh Al-Adawi, a young man present at the conference.
Al-Adawi added, however, that his frustration doesn’t prevent him from being active or from exerting efforts for the sake of Yemen.