With the advancement of technology accelerated by the pandemic, there is an urgent need for member economies to hasten human capital development and improve productivity to ensure that everybody has equal employment opportunities and to secure their future.

During the APEC Human Resources Development Working Group (HRDWG) meeting on Sunday (May 5) in Arequipa, officials made inroads to achieve greater inclusion in APEC.

“Consistent with Peru’s theme and priorities, the HRDWG will focus on programmes and policies that reflect and implement the Detroit Non-Binding Principles and Recommendations while also addressing the challenge of ensuring a successful and effective transition from the informal to the formal economy,” said Zhao Li, the lead shepherd of the group.

Speaking to APEC officials, Peru’s Minister of Labour and Employment Promotion Daniel Maurate Romero weighed in on the state of the informal economy, noting that although all APEC economies have developed in recent decades, there is still a great deal of informality.

“Of the 3.3 billion people in the world of working age, that is 15 to 64, it is estimated that around 2 billion or 61% are informally employed,” Minister Maurate stated.

“In APEC, there are more or less 13 economies that represent 44.7% of informality. In Peru, we are at 71.1% of informality.”

Minister Maurate explained the inextricable link between economic growth, poverty and informality, adding that since participating in APEC, Peru has had a stimulating growth—growth that has led to the reduction of informality and poverty.

“This only proves that when an economy is more productive, GDP will perform better, and it will have direct impact on the reduction of informality and poverty.”

“There is also a relationship between human capital competencies and GDP per capita,” Minister Maurate continued.

“The more competitive the human capital is, the better the economy, the stronger the GDP, and vice versa; the lower the productivity of human capital, the lower the productivity of an economy.”

“This makes it all the clearer; it is essential to work on the productivity of human capital,” Minister Maurate urged.

Minister Maurate reflected that to move forward and address this issue, an economy must first understand its weaknesses.

He shared with delegates that in Peru’s case, most of the young people are in the informal sector as they do not have access to higher education.

Many of them become unemployed because they do not have access to transferable skills.

“Unemployment is the road to poverty,” Minister Maurate said.

“As a result, there are many young people who are in poverty or extreme poverty because they have not had access to a training programme.”

To solve this problem, Minister Maurate offered an example of a programme called Jóvenes Productivos in Peru that aims to strengthen and improve the employability of working age population, focusing on the youth population in situations of poverty, extreme poverty and/or socio-occupational vulnerability through job training.

Another urgent challenge to address is the mismatch between education programmes and labour market demand.

Minister Maurate said that around 65% of young people are inadequately employed, meaning that they have completed their studies, but they are not able to get a job in the relevant field.

In Peru, a platform called Mi Carrera was launched to provide information for young people on the most sought-after employability skills or university degrees, the average salary for specific career and job demand, among others.

It also informs higher education institutions to intensify their training for careers that have more labor demand or careers that pay well.

Minister Maurate concluded by highlighting the benefits of APEC and encouraging member economies to continue sharing best practices in critical topics including training and hiring people with disabilities, developing human capital and bridging the skills gap.

“We are more than happy to learn from developed economies and show our own experience that I think can be useful to APEC economies,” Minister Maurate said.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation or APEC is an inter-governmental forum for 21 member economies in the Pacific Rim that promotes free trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region.


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