By Medina Malagic – Sarajevo
The unemployment rate in B&H is estimated to be around 45 percent, while the rate of unemployment among the youth of B&H stands at approximately 60 percent.
During the past few months, the signs of progress have become a visible marker in B&H, when compared to the past 20 years of citizen apathy that witnessed widespread corruption, a hijacking of the state’s institutions and the political tactic of playing on the fears of citizens through the ethnically divided institutional structures.
The fact that the citizens of B&H have been relentlessly demanding their basic rights is testament to state the country has been in for nearly 20 years, as well as the level of seething anger that finally manifested into violent attacks against government institutions in February.
It is the youth of B&H that has suffered immensely, who remain disillusioned and see their only option to a better life by leaving the country and going abroad. Thus, brain drain has been a characteristic in B&H since 1995. According to a report by the World Economic Forum that was published in 2012, B&H is in 126th place out of 146 countries when it comes to brain drain.
All of this is compounded by the makeup of the B&H political structure, which is conducive to entrenching ethnic divisions that are used as camouflage for the preservation of the rule of a tiny oligarchy. This means that sectors that require immediate reform are neglected, such as education and employment, which are two issues that directly impact the youth of B&H.
While the initial protests in B&H began as workers seeking their rights, has now spiraled into general unrest and frustration over the entire dysfunctional system in the country, affecting everyone from young to old. It is more than a critique of nationalism. It is a critique against the entire reigning political class that has destroyed the local economy and impoverished most of its citizens.