I thought of sharing the views and ideas expressed in our various discussions as it might help many others and trigger the thought process, and lead to useful recommendations for development policies.
Majority of the youth aged between 18-35 at present fall under a unique category when we compare it to many other countries in the world. In most other countries, when a young person graduates from college and enter the job market, have many aspirations like owning a house, a car, or a good pension (retirement plan). In Maldives (particularly, in Male’) : a ‘wave’ motorcycle, or probably a small 12 x 10 bedroom. There’s no motivation or a driving force for most of the youth to get a good job and work hard to earn a good living. Earn all that money for what? We can’t own a decent house and have a quality life. The most we can fulfill is to own a motorcycle and ride for 30 minutes every night. Some of the tsunami victims who live in temporary camps, when given a little money chose to own a ‘Lifan’ motorcycle, that happens to be parked outside the ‘tent’. Bank of Maldives availed Rf15,000 soft loans out of the proceeds of international aid after tsunami. Most of these loans were being used to purchase motorcycles on installment.
The bottom line is, we need to induce a motivation within the youth, so that they have at least something to work for. When there’s no important goal in life, when hard work and earned income doesn’t provide them an incentive to lead a better life, we may not be able to solve the youth employment problem. We may not be able to reduce the expatriate labor force.