There is a dire need for job creation for the emerging youth in each country in the region. In fact, over 50% of the entire population in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India are under the age of 30. These populations are creating a significant demand for education and job opportunities, that need to be met. Without such opportunities and no hope for a better future, the youth could become easy targets for recruitment by extremists groups.
In the case of Pakistan alone, 36 million jobs need to be created within the next two decades, as reported by the British Council’s “Next Generation Survey of Pakistan”. If the government fails, “Pakistan will face large scale unemployment ….. and immense pressure on education systems, which could develop into a crisis”, said Durr-e-Nayab of the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics.
To strengthen economic growth and job opportunities in the region, Erasing Borders would initially concentrate its efforts in the agricultural, education and technology sectors. The following are examples of such programs being considered:
· Introduce a Software Engineers’ Boot Camp in Afghanistan to train a cadre of young computer programmers which offers immediate job opportunities with good salaries within the region.
· Assemble a skill-based “Talent Bank” of diaspora members who are willing to serve as volunteer short-term or long-term technical consultants, advisors and mentors to small businesses, community and social organizations in the region. These services can be provided either virtually or in person.
· Connect national and international NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations) or other domestic service organizations with diaspora members who can share their expertise and experience in education, computer technology, health care, and other economic development and job creation fields. This could be similar to the work of Peace Corps, Teach America, the Retired Executive Corps, and SCORE in the United States.
The successful entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and business and educational leaders among the diaspora have the potential to be valuable partners in these initiatives to create desperately needed jobs and economic growth in the region. In fact, we have the moral obligation to do so to help our countrymen to build a promising future.