Arab world needs 100m new jobs

The private sector needs to step up job-creation in the next 20 years.
Arab world needs 100m new jobs
By Safura Rahimi
Mon 19 Mar 2007 12:29 PM

The Arab world will have to create a hundred million new jobs, mostly in the private sector, over the next two decades to accommodate the region's younger generation and increasing population, according to Hamid Jafar, executive chairman of Dana Gas.

Job creation is one of the most important challenges facing the Middle East today said Jafar, who was speaking at the BIMA conference at the American University of Sharjah (AUS) yesterday, and quoted by WAM.

Mr. Jafar said that there are 200,000 new graduates each year in Saudi Arabia alone, and that "the state sector, until now the main employer, has been struggling to maintain its historic absorption of new jobs."

"Encouragement of a robust and growing private sector is therefore critical to the region's socio-economic well-being, as well as to its security, indeed the security of the whole world," he said.

According to Mr. Jafar, who is also a member of AUS Board of Trustees, there has been a growing push from high political levels to encourage private sector growth, entrepreneurship and economic diversification.

In the UAE last week, the three-day Careers UAE 2007 Exhibition was organised to give nationals a better feel for the region's job market. The event saw big name companies in the region such as Emaar, Dubai Financial Market and Emirates Islamic Bank setting up initiatives and offering job opportunities to nationals.

Mr. Jafar said: "In total, the Arab world will have to create 100 million new jobs in the next 20 years alone - more than we have achieved during the whole last century! It is simply not sustainable, nor indeed desirable or efficient, for this increase in the labour force to be absorbed by the state sector."

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