World Economic Forum: Yetnebersh Nigussie promotes Disability Inclusion

Yetnebersh Nigussie speaks about disability inclusion during the World Economic Forum from 22nd to 25th January.
Portrait Yetnebersh Nigussie smiling

Light for the World’s Senior Inclusion Advisor and Right Livelihood Award winner Yetnebersh Nigussie is a speaker to promote disability inclusion during the World Economic Forum, which takes place from 22nd to 25th January. The Forum brings together world leaders as well as representatives from the economy, academia, NGOs, religious leaders and media to discuss and drive the economic debate.

For The first time since the Forum began (in 1971) disability and inclusion are a focus. “We are more than one billion people with disabilities in the world, and we should be meaningfully involved in society. There are countless costs to countries who exclude people with disabilities – not least that it results in a lower overall GDP”

According to estimates by the International Labour Organisation, the exclusion of people with disabilities costs up to 7% of a country’s GDP annually: financial resources which could be put to good use elsewhere. Furthermore, a 2014 study by the International Centre for Evidence in Disability argues that the national product of a country increases as more people with disabilities gain access to education and work (Morgon Banks and Pollack, 2014).

Inclusion makes economic sense.

Inclusion from the start

On 23rd January, Yetnebersh – along with David Edwards, General Secretary of Education International,  General Secretary of Education International, British Paralympic swimmer Susannah Rodgers and Global Teacher Prize Winner 2018 Andria Zafirakou – discussed how to make education inclusive.“Children who play, learn and grow together have a possibility of building an inclusive future for everyone”, explained Nigussie during the session.

However, children with disabilities are still often excluded from education. The Costing Equity education study by Light for the World, the IDDC and The Open Society Foundation shows that around 32.5 million children with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries do not go to school due to poor state funding. 

Making Disability Inclusion Work

Also the employment-to-population ratio of people with disabilities is almost half that of people without disabilities, and employed people with disabilities tend to earn lower wages than their counterparts without disabilities (UN Flagship Report on Disability and Development, 2018).

Nigussie: “I hope that my presence at the World Economic Forum helps business and political leaders gain the expertise on how to best include those more than one billion people with disabilities in shaping the future. Light for the World as a development and disability organisation is happy to contribute to this very exciting moment, where we ensure that growth in the future is inclusive.”

Inclusion in school and vocational training is the most cost-effective way to enable all people in the long term to participate in society - and thus to bolster the GDP of a country.

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