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Jobs are crucial to development, World Bank says


A worker makes trousers at a factory in Kandal province. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

Jobs are a cornerstone of development in developing countries, reducing poverty, making cities work and providing youth with alternatives to violence, according to a new World Bank report.

“A good job can change a person’s life, and the right jobs can transform entire societies,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said.

“Governments need to move jobs to centre stage to promote prosperity and fight poverty. It’s critical that governments work well with the private sector, which accounts for 90 per cent of all jobs.”

Jobs are crucial for achieving economic and social development, the World Development Report 2013 said.

Jobs contribute to broader societal goals such as poverty reduction, economy-wide productivity growth and social cohesion.

Development payoffs include acquiring skills, empowering women and stabilising post-conflict societies.

Jobs contributing to these goals are good jobs for development. The report said jobs with the greatest development payoff are not only found in a country’s formal sector.

According to the report, not just the number of jobs, but also their quality was important.

In many developing countries where farming and self-employment prevail, the unemployment rate can be low.

Poor people in these countries hold more than one job with long working hours but still they don’t earn enough to secure a better future, they can face unsafe working conditions and a lack of basic rights protection.

According to the report, Cambodia had an unemployment rate of 1.7 per cent in 2010. The country’s largest formal sector employer is the garment industry.

Yim Serey Vathanak, national project coordinator on trade unions for social justice of ILO on Workers Activities, said Cambodia’s total working population counts about eight million people.

“About six million people work in the informal sector,” he said, adding that they contribute a lot to the national economy.

Workers of the informal sector, such as tuk tuk drivers, street vendors or owners of small, unregistered restaurants, do not have the same rights and protection as workers in the formal sector and they are under-represented, according to Yim Serey Vathanak.

He said workers in the formal sector, such as employees working for hotels, NGO’s, banking, footwear or the garment sector, enjoy more rights and representation.

According to Yim Serey Vathanak, the youth unemployment in Cambodia lies at about 4 per cent because there are not enough jobs available.

“The youth have more knowledge, more education,” he said, adding that they are thus not interested in low income jobs.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anne Renzenbrink at



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