GEA at the Parliamentary Assembly of B&H

At a conference entitled “The position of women and youth in the Bosnia and Herzegovina labor market,” Ms. Belma Hadzimahmutovic presented findings and recommendations from her co-authored GEA study “Youth unemployment – the EU and B&H share the problem, but can they share solutions?”

The study highlights these basic labor market problems in B&H:

–          Youth unemployment has climbed beyond 60% – the highest rate in Europe,

–          High levels of youth inactivity, with more than 50% of young people economically inactive, meaning they do not have and are not seeking a job,

–          Chronic long-term unemployment, with over 50% of young people seeking jobs for over one year unable to find one.

There is a wide range of possible solutions for these problems. Above all, joint action and better cooperation is needed between official institutions, public and private employment agencies, educational institutions and other organizations dealing with youth issues. Authorized state institutions must implement youth employment policies more effectively and provide concrete support for young entrepreneurs such as business incentives for startups, special credit lines, more efficient use of available EU funds, etc. The educational system of B&H needs to assume a more active role in promoting entrepreneurship among young people of all ages by introducing it as a regular subject. Higher education institutions must account for current and forecasted labor market needs in their enrollment decisions. The full (local language) study containing detailed findings and recommendations can be found here.

The conference – part of a broader conference series called “Economy and Law in the Context of the EU: Integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina” – was held on July 7, 2014 at the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Organized by the Assembly, the Joint Committee for Economic Relations and Development, the B&H office of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, and the USAID program “Strengthening Governing Institutions and Processes in B&H,” it brought together relevant actors to jointly analyze the problem of unemployment among women and youth and offer policy recommendations to inform an economic development plan for B&H.

The conference convened two sessions:

  1. An institutional overview of the position of women and youth in the labor market of Bosnia and Herzegovina. During this sessions, the directors of B&H employment bureaus and the Agency for Labor and Employment delivered presentations.
  2. A civil society overview of the position of women and youth in the labor market. Presentations for this session were delivered by the representatives of several B&H NGOs. Results were presented for the study “Youth unemployment – the EU and B&H share the problem, but can they share solutions?” Significantly, B&H’s Agency for Labor and Employment (ARZ BiH) recognized and used the study recommendations in their presentations to conference participants.

The event provided an important opportunity for knowledge exchange among participants, who engaged in lengthy discussions that lasted beyond the originally planned conference schedule.