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Sat 25 May 2013 11:47 AM

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Education, jobs must be MidEast priority - UAE min

UAE economy minister says gov'ts must fulfil aspirations of key under-25 year old demographic

Education, jobs must be MidEast priority - UAE min
(AFP/Getty Images)

Education and the creation of employment opportunities are fundamental for fulfilling the ambitions of young people in the Middle East and North Africa, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The views are contained in its Outlook on the Global Agenda 2013, released at its summit on the MENA region in Jordan.

Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, Minister of Economy of the UAE and co-chair of the Summit on the Global Agenda 2012, said creating job opportunities for young Arabs should be a top priority.

“Youth under 25 years old represent a majority of the population in the Arab World and have high aspirations for the future," he said in a statement released by WEF.

"Fulfilling these aspirations, by providing high-quality education, fostering sustainable and increased economic growth, and creating employment opportunities, should be top priorities for the governments of the region,” he added.

The findings of the report will be discussed at the Forum’s regional event in Jordan and further debated at the Summit on the Global Agenda 2013 in Abu Dhabi, in November.

The Summit convenes experts from academia, government, business and civil society to challenge conventional thinking and tackle global challenges.

The Outlook on the Global Agenda 2013 contains insights on globalisation, geopolitics, hyperconnectivity, post-2015 development issues and leadership values.

Mustapha Kamel Nabli, former governor of the Central Bank of Tunisia and chair of the Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Arab World, said: “It is particularly interesting that this report highlights two of the major issues we face in the Arab world - leadership and moral values.

"The recent uprisings in Arab countries were a direct challenge to leaderships which could no longer be trusted and were failing to respond to the needs of their people."

Earlier this year, Ernst & Young said in a report that over 15 million young people are expected to enter the workforce in the Middle East and North Africa in the next decade.

Its quarterly Rapid-Growth Markets Forecast said the region's greatest challenge "will be to create employment and develop the non-oil economy".

The forecast urged the promotion of entrepreneurship in MENA and creating the right environment for new businesses, developing the non-oil economy, education and training and targeted public spending on infrastructure.