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You know your country is in a depression when your prime minister tells the unemployed to go overseas to the old colonies to go and look for work. Youth unemployment rose to 37% in Portugal in the spring, according to government data.
Portugal’s prime minister has been free with his advice to the legions of young and unemployed in his country. They should “show more effort” and “leave their comfort zone” by looking for work abroad. Teachers unable to find a job at home should think about emigrating to Angola or Brazil.
Pedro Passos Coelho’s comments have touched a raw nerve in Portugal, where the debt crisis and economic recession have sent jobless rates soaring. Many Portuguese are even beginning to question what appeared to be irreversible social advances since the country emerged from almost 50 years of dictatorship in 1974.
South Africa could capitalise on this by making it easier for these youngsters to relocate here, and to bring their intellectual and physical capital with them, as these people seek to escape the collapsing European social welfare state.