Finance, labour and education leaders have urged a fresh approach to address unemployment in the Arab world as figures show 20 million Arabs do not work.
The leaders have gathered in Riyadh for the three-day Arab Forum for Development and Employment to discuss ways to find jobs for millions of Arabs in the region, Arab News reported.
The forum’s theme, Towards Social Protection and Sustainable Development, comes as figures released at the event show Arab unemployment has risen to 16 percent, or 20 million people.
The Ministry of Labor tweeted on Monday that the participants would be looking at aligning training and education programs with labour market requirements.
Recent studies have confirmed a correlation between unemployed youth and the lack of sustainable development initiatives, which posed a threat to Arab governments, Arab News reported.
Labor Minister Adel Fakeih said “an effective solution must be found for unemployment in the Arab world.” He hoped the forum would produce recommendations to create jobs.
Keynote speaker Guy Ryder, director-general of the International Labor Organization, said the Saudi government had contributed significantly to the stability and growth of the labor market.
Saudi Central Department of Statistics and Information said the unemployment rate had dropped from 12 percent in 2012 to 11.7 percent in 2013 or 622,533 Saudis.
It showed that the work force totalled 11.3 million people over the age of 18, making up 54 percent of the country’s population, with males accounting for over 9.5 million people.