Cracking the Unemployment and Underemployment Complexities - Why the Neoclassical Framework is Inadequate and Why Holistic and Innovative Approaches are Essential (Part 1)

By Lamin M. Manneh, UN Resident Coordinator in Rwanda At the opening ceremony of the WEDF Conference held in Kigali in September 2014, H.E. President Paul Kagame reminded us about the strong desire ex-pressed by people for decent and productive jobs in virtually all corners of the earth through different on-line and off -line surveys as well as social media, including the UN Secretary-General’s global “the world we want” survey for the post-2015 development agenda.

By Lamin M. Manneh, UN Resident Coordinator in Rwanda

At the opening ceremony of the WEDF Conference held in Kigali in September 2014, H.E. President Paul Kagame reminded us about the strong desire ex-pressed by people for decent and productive jobs in virtually all corners of the earth through different on-line and off -line surveys as well as social media, including the UN Secretary-General’s global “the world we want” survey for the post-2015 development agenda.

It is, therefore, legitimate to wonder why the global community, with all the enormous resources and intellectual power at its disposal has apparently failed to crack the complexities of unemployment and underemployment confronting nations across the world for such a long time. In my view, this underscores the urgent need for a fundamental review of the commonly accepted approaches to ad-dressing these important development issue.

In this regard, our basic hypotheses are threefold: first is that for there to be success in tackling the unemployment and underemployment problems, particularly in developing and even emerging countries, there has to be a major shift from neo-classical (laissez-faire) frameworks to more aggressive and proactive strategies, policies and programmes more relevant to their specific contexts.

Secondly, given that the problems of unemployment and underemployment have metamorphosed so much from what they were even in the 1980s into far more multi-faceted phenomena, there is also a critical need for more holistic approaches to tackling them.

Thirdly, with the rapid pace of techno-logical innovation, both policy innovation and staying close to the curves of technological changes by the countries is essential to containing the unemployment problems.