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Young Arabs will need 80 million jobs by 2020

8-1-2014

The Arab world is facing a critical challenge as it needs to secure some 80 million jobs by 2020 (does this and the following figure include women as well?-Ed. note).  Indeed, one of every Arab youth (men and women?) is unemployed thus scoring one of the highest regional unemployment rates worldwide according to the report released by the Arab Thought Foundation (ATF) which was launched during its annual conference, “Fikr 12” held on the 4th and 5th of December 2013.
The report entitled “Enabling Job Creation in the Arab World: A Role for Regional Integration?” was produced by the Arab Thought Foundation in collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) with the support of Human Resources Development Fund  The report emphasizes that the missed opportunity cost of youth unemployment in the Arab world amounts to USD 50 billion per year.
The report is based on data collected between July and September 2013 by Waterhouse Coopers from 350 individuals in 20 Arab countries in addition to a number of in-depth interviews conducted with selected individuals between the end of October and early November 2013.  The study showed that some 65% of the sample expected the economy of the region to improve during 2014, whilst 97% consider that education is the key factor in addressing unemployment amongst the youth.  The report also showed that economic complementarity amongst the Arab countries is week and interviewees had little hope that this will improve in the near future.
Some 91% of those interviewed indicated that private entrepreneurship is the main engine for creating employment.  The report further affirms that small and medium enterprises contribute to a healthy economic growth as they tend to result in the employment of significant number of people compared to large enterprises.  The report went on to stress that government and multi-national companies in the region cannot alone secure all the employment opportunities needed.  In addition, the study indicated that young people do not wish to work in low paid jobs of the private sector and particularly the services sector.  It went on to conclude that resolving the current unemployment problem in the region will necessitate a radical change in cultural values.
It is to be note that the study covered the following countries: Algeria, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Oman, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Palestinian Territories, Somalia, and Tunisia.
Source: Al-Diyar 8 January 2014

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