Coke CEO Kent: Youth Unemployment Endangers World Peace

Friday, 24 Jan 2014 12:32 PM

By Dan Weil

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Unemployment among teens and young adults represents a huge global problem, says Muhtar Kent, CEO of Coca-Cola.

In the United States, teenage unemployment totaled 20.2 percent in December.

"Seventy-five million [young] people [globally] are unemployed, do not have the opportunity to work at the moment," Kent said in a talk at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, The Huffington Post reports.

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"That's bigger than France. It's a terrible thing when people are coming into the workforce in their late teens and early 20s and don’t have opportunities to create value."

In May 2012, the global youth unemployment rate totaled 12.6 percent, compared to 4.5 percent for the adult unemployment rate, according to the International Labour Organization.

If the situation isn't addressed, the results could be devastating, Kent says.

"If we're not successful in creating better opportunities, I think there's a real danger that the social peace and fabric of the world is in danger," he said. "It's the obligation of government, it's the obligation of civil society to come together to find solutions."

Kent spoke of the need for a "golden triangle" between business, government and civil society to address the issue.

Others are concerned about the problem, too.

“It’s robbing countries of economic growth and robbing young people of career opportunities, which means their lives can go awry,” Rajiv Shah, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, told the Financial Times.

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