“It’s the most worrying phenomenon. Not just because of the wasted potential and frustrated young people. It’s also politically and socially very dangerous. We know that high rates of youth unemployment have a huge fiscal cost for countries, consequences for crime, higher rates of mortality, higher rates of suicide, higher rates of social instability,” says the IMF’s deputy head.
Even with the most optimistic view of a recovery, she says it will take years to tackle the levels of unemployment.
“Which is what brings us to the role of education. It does seem to us that some creative thinking about the future of education could start to make a dent in these unemployment rates,” says Ms Shafik, the Egyptian-born former vice president of the World Bank.