A new joint report by the Development Center of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Development Bank for Latin America (CAF) says that regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will shrink by between 0.9 percent and one percent this year.
ECLAC says this will be the second consecutive year of negative growth and a rate of contraction the region has not seen since the early 1980s.
According to the Latin American Economic Outlook 2017, the region should, however, recover in 2017, but with modest GDP growth of between 1.5 percent and two percent, still below expected growth in advanced economies.
The report says the prolonged economic deceleration could jeopardize the region’s socio-economic progress.
Based on the report, the organizations have called for investing in youth through better education, improved skills and entrepreneurship opportunities to ignite economic growth and build a solid basis for long-term progress.
The Outlook shows how social, ethnic, gender and geographical conditioning impacts individuals
It says nearly 30 million young people in the region are neither working nor engaged in education or training (NEET), which is 21 percent of the people in this age group, compared with 15 percent in OECD countries.
It says another 19 percent of youths are in informal jobs.
The report notes that women are particularly disadvantaged, making up 76 per cent of NEETS and occupying mainly unpaid jobs.
It adds that at least six out of 10 youths living in poor households are NEETs, or working in the informal sector, and four out of 10 youths living in vulnerable middle-class households are NEETs, or in informal jobs.
This compares to only two out of 10 from middle-class households, ECLAC said.
“The region can gain from better including youth and offering quality education, skills and entrepreneurship opportunities in order to foster growth and inclusion,” said Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, at the launch of the report here at the 25th Ibero-American Summit.
“The lack of good employment opportunities and the poor transition from school to work are hindering youth inclusion and disappointing expectations in our region,” she added. “Too many young people are left out of access to public services, savings and social mobility.”