Housing and Credit
Youth need credit to start a business, buy a house, or pay for the initial start up cost of forming a family. Their need for credit often goes unmet because individuals at the start of their adult life lack collateral, steady jobs, or reputation capital to qualify for obtaining credit. Left alone, credit markets in the Middle East fail in their most important mission which is to allow individuals to smooth their consumption by borrowing against future income.
Of the various need for credit, housing stands out because of the role it plays in the transition to adulthood. The ability for the young to live independently is critical for their sense of fulfillment and participation in adult life. With an increase in investments and a growing GDP, the region is well positioned to explore reforms in housing and credit to ease financial and social pressures faced by young people.
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.
In the first Policy Outlook by the Middle East Youth Initiative, Ragui Assaad and Mohamed Ramadan show how housing policy reforms in Egypt have made marriage more affordable for young people. This new research demonstrates how effective policies to grant young people access to key markets, such as housing, are critical in order to ensure successful transitions to adulthood.
Youth Exclusion in the West Bank and Gaza Strip: The Impact of Social, Economic and Political Forces
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 (Brookings Press, 2009), edited by Navtej Dhillon and Tarik Yousef, represents three years of research on youth exclusion in the Middle East.
In this Middle East Youth Initiative Policy Outlook, Ragui Assaad and Mohamed Ramadan demonstrate that housing policy reforms in Egypt have made rental housing more affordable and accessible to young people and have also contributed to a declining age at marriage among young men.
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.