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Hope but no job for unemployed youth

[Guinea] Selling petrol on the street in litre bottles serves the vendor with cash and the cash-strapped consumer with affordable quantities. [Date picture taken: 11/23/2006] Nicholas Reader/IRIN
Selling petrol in litre bottles is a popular job in Conakry
Bimba, 26, graduated from Donka University in Guinea's capital Conakry last year. Unable to find work, he has turned to selling packets of cheap Chinese medicines at the market until an internship or proper job turns up.

“I’ve got a problem finding work. My cousin owns this shop and she has let me work here while I look. Ideally, I would like a job as a functionary, but that means I need to know someone in a good place - that’s the system here and we cannot change it.”

“I do not regret having gone as far as I did with my education or paying as much as I did for it. But now it is time for a change - things are blocked now, but they will change and then I will be well placed to benefit. When the regime changes, the young will take charge and create change.”

“The main problems with the way things are at the moment are the coordination at all levels of government, and that everyone is confronted by corruption. We can engage the young - but so long as there is corruption there will be no change and we will not benefit. Look at me here in this shop, a prime example. I know nothing about medicine but I am here because I know someone. Normally there should be a pharmacist standing here.”

“If change is going to come here, it is going to come with violence. Me, I would take part. I could not ignore the chance to make a change. But, I would be afraid of dying at the same time. And it would be risk because Guinea could then become like Sierra Leone or Liberia. All Guineans are scared of that because they had war, even in Cote d’Ivoire, in Senegal, and from Guinea there’s nowhere to run to.”

“Ninety nine percent of my friends are in the same situation as me. We are all tempted not to make change but just to leave, to go to France or the United States. We see the television and see many Africans in Europe. I had a friend in college who left in the second year and now he has a villa and land here, while those of us who stayed have nothing. I don’t know anyone who has been able to achieve the same things here. Here we just survive and get nothing for it.”

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