Cascais, 2 April 2019. A UfM Ministerial Policy Conference titled “Job, Skills and Opportunities for All”, took place on 2 April in Cascais (Portugal) as part of the 4th UfM Ministerial Conference on Employment and Labour. The Conference provided the opportunity to discuss the most pressing labour market’s needs, in particular the persistent inequality in the access to jobs mostly for women and young people.
The World Economic Forum’s Human Capital Index indicates that the MENA region currently captures only 62% of its full human capital potential, which translates to a great margin for improvement if the bottlenecks of informality, skill gaps and access to market and to finance are properly addressed.
In his opening address, the UfM Secretary General, Nasser Kamel, conveyed a message of optimism, while recognizing the magnitude of the employment-related challenges facing the UfM region. He highlighted the region’s huge geostrategic importance; its richness in natural resources, human capital, cultural assets, business culture, as well as evident synergies and complementarities between the different stakeholders. Secretary General Kamel stated that “the region’s position on the global value chain and its location on the competitiveness scale are largely a function of its ability to turn labour market challenges into opportunities through policy reforms, capacity building, social dialogue, gender mainstreaming, innovation streamlining, strategic partnerships, and creative financial solutions, just to name a few of the many elements that constitute an enabling business environment and a functioning labour market.”
The Policy Conference was opened by José António Vieira da Silva, the Portuguese Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, and António Costa, the Prime Minister of Portugal. Opening addresses were delivered by Marianne Thyssen, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Samir Said Murad, Minister of Labour of Jordan, as well as Nasser Kamel, the UfM Secretary General.