SDG 8:DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
Nelson Mandela once famously quoted, ‘The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow’. This is a view which is widely accepted as an engine of current and future growth. Yet, global unemployment skyrocketed from 170 million in 2007 to nearly 202 million in 2012 within which 75 million young women and men were affected. Employment is often viewed as a stepping stone for youngsters upon the completion of their higher education. What if you are one of the 150 million children enlisted in child labour? Or what if you are one of the estimated 780 million individuals who are working in subpar conditions and earning insufficient income to escape poverty. These scenarios are precisely what SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth aims to alleviate.
Goals of SDG 8
The overarching objective of SDG 8 is to encourage inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for everyone. These can be fulfilled by achieving the following goals:
Sustain per capita economic growth based on the national economic environment. Attain higher economic productivity via diversification, technological advancements and innovation
Encourage development policies geared towards encouraging productive tasks, sufficient job creation and entrepreneurial skills
Promote the creation and longevity of small and medium sized enterprises
By 2030, full and productive employment comprising of decent work and fair pay should be available for men and women including the young and disabled
By 2020, reduce the share of youth not engaged in education, training and employment
Abolish forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking.
Eliminate worst forms of child labour such as child soldiers
Safeguard labour rights and encourage a safe and secure working environment for all workers
Fortify the ability of domestic financial institutions to facilitate access to banking, insurance and other financial services for all
Significance of SDG 8 for the progress of the world
Presently, 2.2 billion people survive on less than US$2 (SCR25.99) a day. As time progresses, the need for sufficient job creation becomes more urgent. Approximately 470 million jobs are required for new entrants to the labour market between 2016 and 2030 to match the growth in the global working age population. Having a job does not always guarantee the individual will escape poverty. Often, these individuals are engaged in informal employment which does not offer a steady source of income.
Decent work will ensure equal opportunities for everyone to avail productive work encompassing fair income, job security, self-actualisation and social amalgamation. Individuals can improve their prospects and productively contribute to economic growth. This is a self-fulfilling cycle which is identified as a crucial factor in alleviating global poverty and fostering global economic growth. Even in this modern era of advanced technologies, human capital is fundamental in augmenting global prosperity.
Importance of SDG 8 for Seychelles
The latest unemployment figure and labour force participation rate stood at 4.2% and 68.7%, respectively. Total unemployed youth as a proportion of the youth labour force has been falling since 2015 to stand at 10%. Nonetheless, youth unemployment is 2.4 times higher than the national unemployment rate. In order to augment national economic growth, investment in human capital such as vocational training and tertiary education is essential. Seychelles is what is today because of the people that have graced its shores. By nurturing the available talent, Seychelles can become self-reliant, highly productive and perform at its best capacity.
Seychelles has tremendous potential to utilise its vast EEZ which spans over 1 million km2 of ocean and a territory of 99% of marine environment. Benefits include revenue creation which can be reinvested into future projects and employment opportunities. Two of the economic pillars, tourism and fisheries are heavily reliant on the oceans and account for 20% and 15% of the GDP, respectively. The tourism sector has established backward and forward linkages with various sectors such as car rentals, tour companies, water sports and farmers. Nonetheless, diversification of the economy is essential to mitigate risks stemming from domestic and global shocks. Local businesses can be supported by inculcating innovation, improving access to finance and conducting skills based workshops. As other pillars of economic growth become prominent, more backward and forward linkages with various economic sectors can be established.
Actions taken in Seychelles to achieve SDG 8
The following represents selected actions undertaken in Seychelles towards achieving this goal.
UniSey is the principle tertiary education provider which offers numerous courses where students are given global exposure to supplement their knowledge. Its motto highlights the importance of one’s potential with respect to their future.
National Institute for Science, Technology and Innovation (NISTI) works towards the transferability of science, technology and innovations across all economic sectors in Seychelles. Existing processes can be augmented in addition to encouraging new approaches which is line with the unique biodiversity of the nation.
Small Enterprise Promotion Agency (SEnPA) aspires to support small enterprises such that they become a significant contributor of economic activity. One of their objectives is delivering training and business advisory assistance for small enterprises.
Ways you could help
If all stakeholders perform their duties, this goal can be achieved sooner than later. Try to be conscious of your actions and its transmission to others which could ultimately bolster economic growth.
Support local businesses
Encourage and consider innovation in as many instances as possible
Aim to work or study efficiently to acquire new skills and improve personal productivity
Do not discriminate against anyone
Provide a safe and appropriate working or learning conditions
(Contributed by Raghavi Naidu)