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Korean and Liberian Leaders Call for Focus on Entrepreneurship and Employment

Fon Mathuros, Head of Media, Communications Department, Tel.: +41 (0)79 201 0211, e-mail fma@weforum.org

  • The President of the Republic of Korea outlined her country’s plans to develop a creative economy, highlighting the importance of promoting entrepreneurship
  • Addressing unemployment, especially among youth, requires multiple strategies including substantial investment in national education systems
  • The theme of the 44th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting is The Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business
  • For more information, visit http://wef.ch/Davos

Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, 22 January 2014 – To drive sustainable growth and improve economic resilience, countries must focus on promoting creativity and innovation, on finding ways to expand job opportunities for young people and promoting inclusion, two presidents – one from Asia and the other from Africa – told participants in a plenary session on Reshaping the World through Entrepreneurship, Education and Employment at the 44th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. “The future will be defined by a creative divide,” Park Geun-hye, the President of the Republic of Korea, warned. “Creativity does not degrade the environment; it unlocks opportunities for sustainable growth. It is inherent to all people and therefore holds promise for inclusive growth.” Said Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, in her remarks: “One has to build resilience when there is fragility in the economy. That resilience does not come from growth alone. A key element is capacity.”

Combining individual creativity with technology, science and IT creates new markets and new jobs, Park explained, outlining her government’s efforts to turn her country into a creative economy. “Entrepreneurship puts innovation into action” and is “the driving force of stable, inclusive growth”. Small and medium-sized enterprises tend to be the main drivers of job growth, Park noted. She stressed the importance of “building an ecosystem where entrepreneurs can flourish” and where they are not penalized for failure but can learn from it.

“Significant employment is not created by large concessions but by small and medium-sized enterprises,” Johnson-Sirleaf agreed. Addressing unemployment requires multiple strategies such as substantial investment in national education systems, including technical and vocational training and policies to improve the business environment for both foreign and domestic firms, she argued. Government and business have to work together to create the jobs needed by the most vulnerable groups, particularly youth, women and people in conflict and post-conflict areas, Johnson-Sirleaf reckoned. “Let us all accept that there is no easy fix for youth unemployment. However, partnership between the public and private sectors can make a big difference.”

Notes to Editors

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