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Employment

The Challenge

Source: Waleed Nassar, Madeena360Despite robust economic growth, youth unemployment rates in the Middle East and North Africa remain high, ranging from 20 to 30 percent in most countries in the region, while exceeding 45 percent in others (e.g. Algeria and Iraq). Mismatches between skills and employment needs have left many youth, even those with secondary and post-secondary degrees, unable to find lasting work. Those seeking work now face long queues for public sector work opportunities, once a stable and consistent employment option for educated youth. With the average duration of unemployment spells for youth with university or vocational education increasingly measured in years, the economies of the region are left with the crippling reality that the potential productivity of this large working age population has been left largely dormant.

The Opportunity

Source: Radwan Wetti, 2008The Middle East experienced high economic growth, with real GDP per capita increasing by about 4.0 percent per year from 2004 to 2006. This figure is up from 2.6 percent during the first four years of the decade and from 1.7 percent during the 1990s. In 2010, GDP growth in the region is expected to be 4.4 percent, as the global economy bounces back from the 2008-2009 economic crisis. Further, private sector development, fueled by foreign and domestic investments, is becoming a major engine of job growth. Spreading the benefits of such growth will mean ensuring job creation rates accelerate to meet the demands of young workers. Moreover, the quality of these jobs is crucial if young people are to fulfill their potential and life goals.



Countries in Focus: Ongoing Coverage of the Uprisings in the Region

7 Jun 2011

Experts from the Middle East Youth Initiative are producing ongoing analysis of political and economic developments and the youth populations in these countries. Articles published in internationally recognized media and featuring analysis from Middle East Youth Initiative experts are posted in the "Latest News" section.



The possible economic effects of Obama's Middle East speech

19 May 2011

In anticipation of President Obama's 19 May speech on the Middle East, Tarik Yousef comments on the importance of economic investment and assistance in the region. This interview was originally published by NPR and is reposted here.



Long tedious process towards reforms

23 Mar 2011

Paul Dyer provides insight into the findings of the 2010 Arab Youth Survey. This article was originally published by Gulf News and is reposted here. The views expressed in this article are those of the published author.



Democracy is a top priority

16 Mar 2011

Taufiq Rahim discusses the results of the 2010 Arab Youth Survey. This article was originally published by 7Days and is reposted here. The views expressed in this article are those of the published author.



Mideast 'baby boomers': Shock troops of protests

1 Mar 2011

Tarik Yousef and Ragui Assaad analyze the impact of Middle Eastern 'baby boomers' on the region's current unrest. This article was originally published by MSNBC and is reposted here. The views expressed in this article are those of the published author.



A Younger Generation Speaks to Power

11 Feb 2011

Following Hosni Mubarak's much-anticipated speech on Thursday, 10 February 2011--in which he reaffirmed his determination to remain in office until September, despite popular expectations that he would resign--Edward Sayre talks about the demands of Egyptian youth for economic opportunity and social inclusion. This audio discussion originally aired on The Takeaway and is reposted here. The views expressed in this piece are those of the published author.



Egypt's Youth in Revolt

9 Feb 2011

Tarik Yousef discusses the disconnect between Egyptian youth and the ruling elites, highlighting the very real possibility that Egyptian civil society will 'thrive' in a future, democratic state. This article was originally published by The Takeaway and is reposted here. The views expressed in this article are those of the published author.



Despite Market Fears, Regional Investors See Opportunities Beyond the Turmoil

8 Feb 2011

Paul Dyer considers the need for innovative, creative reforms to harness the economic potential and entrepreneurial creativity of Middle Eastern youth. This article was originally published by Knowledge@Wharton and is reposted here. The views expressed in this article are those of the published author.



Cairo native Ragui Assaad comments on the Egyptian revolt against the regime

4 Feb 2011

Ragui Assaad discussed recent unrest in Egypt and the combination of economic and political exclusion fueling the youth protests. This article was originally published by The Examiner and is reposted here. The views expressed in this article are those of the published author.



High Food Prices and Unemployment Fuel Uprisings in the Middle East

4 Feb 2011

Tarik Yousef discusses the impact of rising food prices and economic challenges on youth frustrations in the Middle East, and the potential for these issues to fuel further protests throughout the region. This audio show originally aired on The Takeaway and is reposted here. The views expressed in this piece are those of the published author.



Empty Pockets Stoked Discontent in Egypt, Tunisia

1 Feb 2011

Tarik Yousef discusses how Egypt and other Arab states' preoccupation with security issues over the last decade drove the debate about economics and politics 'out of the halls of government and into the streets.' This story originally aired on NPR's All Things Considered and is reposted here. The views expressed in this story are those of the published author.



How Will Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution Affect the Arab World?

24 Jan 2011
Ragui Assaad reflects on what the recent historic events in Tunisia mean for youth in Tunisia, Egypt and the rest of the Arab world. This commentary was originally published by the Brookings Institution here.


Tunisia's Dangerous Jobs Shortage

20 Jan 2011

Tarik Yousef discusses soaring youth unemployment in Tunisia. This article was originally published in BusinessWeek and is reposted here. The views expressed in this article are those of the published author.



Djavad Salehi-Isfahani Authors New Paper on Iranian Youth in Times of Economic Crisis

8 Oct 2010

Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, MEYI nonresident senior fellow, has authored a new paper entitled “Iranian Youth in Times of Economic Crisis” (2010) as part of the Dubai Initiative Working Paper Series. Using survey data for 2007 and 2008, Salehi-Isfahani reviews the evidence on youth transitions in Iran to show how the recent economic crisis has affected youth transitions to employment and to marriage. He also shows how transitions differ by family background and by region of residence – rural and urban.



New Radio Program Features Interview with MEYI

15 Sep 2010
America Abroad Media has recently released its new radio program, Overlooked and Underpaid: Arab Youth in Today’s Economy. The hour-long program features a number of segments, including an interview with Samantha Constant. The program is the second of a three-part series that will explore the challenges confronting Arab youth today.


New Egypt Human Development Report Addresses The Role of Youth in Egypt's Future

7 Jul 2010

The 2010 Egypt Human Development Report (EHDR) has been released and focuses specifically on the importance of youth in Egypt's economic, social and political development. The report, "Youth in Egypt: Building our Future", features a chapter by MEYI nonresident senior fellow Ragui Assaad on human development and labor markets, which investigates transitions into employment for Egyptian youth as well as the skills gap between education and employment and the occupational outlook facing young people today.



Experts Convene in Damascus to Review Policy Priorities for Middle East Youth

16 Jun 2010
Experts from the Middle East Youth Initiative network and partners met on June 13 and 14 to identify new priorities in youth research and policy in the Middle East. The meeting was hosted by the Wolfensohn Center for Development at Brookings, the Dubai School of Government, and the Development Research Centre at the Syria Trust for Development.


New Interactive Map: Taking Stock of the Youth Challenge in the Middle East

15 Jun 2010
The Middle East Youth Initiative has released a new online interactive map with key statistics on youth-related issues for all 18 Middle East countries, based on analysis by Samantha Constant and Mary Kraetsch. The map includes key statistics related to each country’s economy, demographics, education and youth employment status.


AmCham-Middle East Youth Initiative Meeting in Cairo Explores Partnerships for Social Innovation

11 Jun 2010
Ehaab Abdou and Samantha Constant participated in a roundtable entitled “Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Egypt: Building Stronger Public-Private Partnerships for the Next Generation” hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, in cooperation with the Middle East Youth Initiative, on June 9 in Cairo.


Jad Chaaban Authors New Paper on Job Creation for Arab Human Development Report Series

25 May 2010
Jad Chaaban, contributing author to Generation in Waiting: The Unfulfilled Promise of Young People in the Middle East (Brookings Press, 2009) and author of "The Costs of Youth Exclusion in the Middle East," has authored a new study as part of the Arab Human Development Report Paper Series.


Samantha Constant Attends Arab World Social Innovation Forum in Cairo

17 May 2010
Samantha Constant, associate director of the Middle East Youth Initiative, participated in a panel on "Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship" during the Arab World Social Innovation Forum, organized by Ashoka Arab World in Cairo.


Dubai Initiative Conference at Harvard Features MEYI Scholars

6 May 2010
Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, Edward Sayre, Christine Binzel and Daniel Egel participated in a youth-focused panel at the 2010 Dubai Initiative Conference at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.


Presidential Summit Wrap-Up: Middle East Youth Initiative Research Featured at Summit and Brookings Launch Event

28 Apr 2010
The Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship was held in Washington, D.C. on April 26 and 27. In her closing remarks, Secretary Clinton highlighted the new Middle East Youth Initiative-Silatech report: "Social Entrepreneurship in the Middle East: Toward Sustainable Development for the Next Generation."
Transitions to Employment and Marriage among Young Men in Egypt
18 Oct 2010, Ragui Assaad, Christine Binzel and May Gadallah

Ragui Assaad, Christine Binzel and May Gadallah share new findings on the transition to first jobs, job mobility, and the timing of marriage among young men in Egypt.

Youth Transitions to Employment and Marriage in Iran: Evidence from the School to Work Transition Survey
30 Jun 2010, Daniel Egel and Djavad Salehi-Isfahani
Daniel Egel and Djavad Salehi-Isfahani examine the factors that affect youth transitions to adulthood in Iran, using retrospective data to connect individual outcomes in the education system and labor and marriage markets.
Social Entrepreneurship in the Middle East: Toward Sustainable Development for the Next Generation
22 Apr 2010, Ehaab Abdou, Amina Fahmy, Diana Greenwald and Jane Nelson

Ehaab Abdou, Amina Fahmy, Diana Greenwald and Jane Nelson propose recommendations to facilitate the development of institutional alliances that need to take place in order to capitalize on social entrepreneurship, boost economic opportunities for young people in the Middle East, and prepare the region become more fully integrated into a rapidly changing global economy.

Youth Exclusion in the West Bank and Gaza Strip: The Impact of Social, Economic and Political Forces
25 Jan 2010, Edward Sayre and Samia Al-Botmeh

Edward Sayre and Samia Al-Botmeh examine three dimensions of the transition to adulthood by Palestinian youth: acquiring skills through schooling and training, finding employment, and forming a family.

Generation in Waiting: The Unfulfilled Promise of Young People in the Middle East
8 Oct 2009, Edited by Navtej Dhillon and Tarik Yousef

Generation in Waiting: The Unfulfilled Promise of Young People in the Middle East (Brookings Press, 2009), edited by Navtej Dhillon and Tarik Yousef, represents three years of research on youth exclusion in the Middle East.

Why Young Syrians Prefer Public Sector Jobs
18 Mar 2009, Nader Kabbani

In this Middle East Youth Initiative Policy Outlook, Nader Kabbani examines how incentives determine young people's choices between public and private sector employment.

Stalled Youth Transitions in the Middle East: A Framework for Policy Reform
8 Oct 2008, Djavad Salehi-Isfahani and Navtej Dhillon

Djavad Salehi-Isfahani and Navtej Dhillon present a framework for policymakers to improve youth outcomes by addressing institutional distortions across sectors: from the education system to the employment, housing, and credit markets.

The Costs of Youth Exclusion in the Middle East
28 May 2008, Jad Chaaban

Jad Chaaban explores the costs associated with a number of dimensions of youth exclusion in the Middle East, including youth unemployment, youth joblessness, school dropouts, adolescent pregnancy, and youth migration.

Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship
March 30 - April 1, 2011
Oxford, United Kingdom
The Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship accelerates the impact of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs by uniting them with essential partners in a collaborative pursuit of learning, leverage and large scale social change. Applications for the 2011 Skoll World Forum are now being considered.
TEDxYSE (Youth Social Entrepreneurship)
13 November 2010
Washington, D.C., United States
TEDxYSE (Youth Social Entrepreneurship) is an event organized by Ashoka’s Youth Venture to give the world’s most inspiring young social entrepreneurs a global platform to share their powerful stories. The first TEDxYSE, to be held on November 13, 2010 in Washington, D.C., will feature the winners of the 2010 Staples/Ashoka Youth Social Entrepreneurship Competition.
World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa
October 26 - 28, 2010
Marrakech, Morocco
The 2010 World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa will take place on 26-28 October in Marrakech, in partnership with the Government of Morocco. Under the theme "Purpose, Resilience and Prosperity", the meeting will gather the foremost leaders from business, government and civil society to renew the region’s growth and development strategies in the context of pressing global risks, including oil price volatility, water scarcity and migration.
Joint ILO-IMF Conference: The Challenges of Growth, Employment and Social Cohesion
13 September 2010
Oslo, Norway
The September 13 IMF-ILO conference on “The Challenges of Growth, Employment and Social Cohesion” in Oslo is designed to tackle the difficult—but critical—policy questions posed by the steep rise in joblessness and the setback to growth and poverty reduction. The conference, which is sponsored by Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of Norway, will bring together senior government officials, labor and business leaders, and well-known economists to address the possible long-term and short-term responses to the employment crisis.
Global Entrepreneurship Week
November 15 - 21, 2010
Global, Global
From November 15-21, 2010, Global Entrepreneurship Week will connect young people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. Students, educators, entrepreneurs, business leaders, employees, non-profit leaders, government officials and many others will participate in a range of activities, from online to face-to-face, and from large-scale competitions and events to intimate networking gatherings.
4th Annual Global Youth Enterprise & Livelihoods Development Conference
September 14 - 16, 2010
Washington, D.C., United States
Making Cents International is pleased to organize an annual global learning event on youth enterprise, employment and livelihoods development. The 2010 Global Youth Enterprise & Livelihoods Development Conference will take place September 14-16 at the Inter-American Development Bank’s Conference Center in Washington, DC.
9th International Conference of the Middle East Economic Association
June 24 - 26, 2010
Istanbul, Turkey
The 9th International Conference of the Middle East Economic Association (MEEA) will be held at the Faculty of Management of Istanbul Technical University (ITU) in Istanbul, Turkey.