Sri Lankan youth shouldn’t fear failure: World Bank Country Director

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan youth who want to become entrepreneurs should not fear failure, Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough, World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka and Maldives, said.

“Today, in many middle-income countries, young people focus on jobs that allow them to innovate; that permit risk taking and many would not even consider being a lifer in a single job,” she said.

Rather, they see the opportunity to change jobs as a way to amass experiences that give them a variety of skills and opportunities, Pswarayi-Riddihough told a forum where the ‘Sri Lanka Development Update’ the World Bank’s bi-annual macroeconomic publication, was launched.

The World Bank has identified jobs as a binding constraint to Sri Lanka’s growth.

“Many dream not only of working at the established big-name companies but at being self-starters who develop companies that could be bought by the big names in the industry,” she said.

“This buzz is yet to take root in Sri Lanka, despite its middle-income status. What I hear most from the young here is that they are conditioned by parental ambitions to become doctors or lawyers and then get a job in the public sector.”

Pswarayi-Riddihough said that while professionals like need doctors and lawyers were needed there was a limit to how many can be absorbed into the government with the result being more job seekers than job creators.

Some entrepreneurial endeavours will fail and the role of authorities will be to help them back up to continue to create the jobs that they want to work in, in future, she said.

“So, to all the youths who are thinking of pushing the boundaries and becoming the next entrepreneur – the world is ready for you,” Pswarayi-Riddihough said.

“You must demand the attention of those who have the means to help you start-up – also don’t be afraid of failure.”





Pswarayi-Riddihough also said there is a need to redefine perceptions of a job and it can no longer be split into a formal job versus an informal one, nor can the future youths afford to all aspire for a job that keeps them employed till retirement.

“We need youths to be at the forefront of creating jobs, some of which we don’t even know will exist in the near future,” Pswarayi-Riddihough said.

“We need them to push policy makers, the private sector and the public sector to lift hurdles in their way so they can get on with being tomorrow’s employers and innovators.”
(COLOMBO, July 01, 2018)


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