Work is our freedom, our independence, our life
“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” – Barack Obama
SDG 8 was defined by the United Nations with a difficult but challenging task to reach by 2030: "Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all."
In April 2019 the International Monetary Fund published its latest edition of the World Economic Outlook (WEO). It presents the IMF economists' analysis of global economic developments from near to medium term. The report showed that the global economic development is weak: it slowed from 3.6 percent in 2018 to 3.3 percent in 2019.
Among the countries with the highest economic growth rates we find South Asia, East and West Africa. Between Asian countries, India and Bangladesh cover the first position, with growth rates higher than 7 percent; they are followed by Vietnam, The Philippines and China (+6 percent). In Africa, instead, the "best performers" are Ghana (+8.8 percent) and Ethiopia (+7.7 percent). Ethiopia’s economic growth is due to consistent investment flows coming from external countries, agricultural potential and natural resources. Similarly, Ghana is an important beneficiary of foreign investments. At the core of its economic growth a fundamental role is covered by the quality of institutions: over the last two decades, in fact, Ghana has made major steps towards democracy.
Good working conditions contribute to the wellbeing of workers and the success of enterprises. However, this is not a simple task to reach, because the labour market is changing everyday, with new technologies and new forms of work organizations implemented into our workplaces. A new global report led by the International Labour Organization (ILO) highlighted the need for urgent changes. It showed that worldwide there are 190 millions of unemployed people, 64.8 of whom are young. According to the report, this data should get worse by 2030, when we will need 344 millions new workplaces. Moreover, 300 millions of workers live in extremely poor conditions, with less than 2$ per day, and 36.1 percent of the workforce works too many hours per week (more than 48). In addition, 2.78 millions of people die every year due to accidents at work and the wage gap between men and women still remains high. All these elements have direct consequences on the countries’ stability and social justice. The global situation, in fact, erodes the trust in democracies, enhancing the insecurity and feeding the isolationism and populism.
According to the U.N., in order to implement SDG 8 and create engagement, countries across the world should put into practice several targets that can be found here.
Decent work and productive employment are key elements to reduce hunger and poverty, as well as to bring peace to the world. Work is also a fundamental human right and it confers dignity to people. It is important for the human wellbeing, independence and freedom. Working gives us the opportunity to feel integrated into society and to contribute to the development of our own country.
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