26 Oct

Arabs concerned about unemployment: Arab Youth Survey 2019

‘As a developing region with some of the fastest-growing economies in the world, Arab youth cannot afford to be left behind. Now, more than ever, the region’s young people require the support of their governments if they are to realise their potential and take up the productive, fulfilling and rewarding careers which are needed to drive the economies of the region to greater heights.’

An overwhelming 89 per cent of young Arabs expressed concern about levels of unemployment in their countries, according to a new finding from the 2019 ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey, unveiled at an event organised by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during the IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings in Washington, DC.

The event, ‘Youth Aspirations in the Middle East and North Africa’, was moderated by Brian Cheung, a reporter with Yahoo Finance, and featured a presentation of key findings from this year’s survey – now in its 11th annual edition – by Sunil John, Founder, ASDA’A BCW, and President, Middle East, BCW, which included new data about young Arabs’ concerns over their careers.

Joining John on the panel were Sahar Nasr, Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, Jihad Azour, Director, IMF Middle East and Central Asia and Syrine Chaalala, co-Founder and Managing Director, next Protein.

As the largest demographic group of the Middle East and North Africa region, many Arab youths face severe hurdles joining the labour force, with World Bank research indicating 30 per cent of 18-24-year-olds are out of work in the Middle East and North Africa – the highest unemployment rate in the world. The 11th Arab Youth Survey shows that the rising cost of living and unemployment are the top two concerns among Arab youth but indicates a marked divide in opportunity between young Arabs living in the oil-rich Gulf states and their peers elsewhere, especially when it comes to expectations of their governments to address issues that matter to young people.

For example, while 97 per cent of youth in the UAE are confident their national government can battle rising unemployment, 80 per cent of youth in Iraq have no confidence in their governments to do the same.

Young Arabs in the wealthy Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states also look to their governments as a source of employment. Seven in 10 (69 per cent) of youth in the GCC want to work in the public sector – while those elsewhere are more amenable to private-sector jobs, with just four in 10 youth in North Africa (40 per cent) and the Levant (39 per cent) preferring government jobs.

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Written by Times News Service
Image: Times of Oman
Publication date: October 20, 2019

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