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Wed 6 Feb 2013 03:49 PM

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Jobless Arab youth call for end to 'wasta' – UN

Arab region has the highest level of youth unemployment in the world, says UN report

Jobless Arab youth call for end to 'wasta' – UN
Jobless Arab youth are demanding more jobs that do not require intermediaries or connections

Unemployed Arab youths are demanding more jobs that do not require intermediaries or connections, known as ‘Wasta’, according to a UN report which revealed that the Arab world has the highest level of youth unemployment globally.

A report from the UN and International Labour Organisation (ILO) revealed Arab youth unemployment is the highest globally at 23.2 percent, compared to a world average of 13.9 percent.

“The recent uprisings against various Arab governments have exposed a lack of social protection and dialogue between citizens and authorities,” the report said.

“The real issue is the need for jobs with social dignity rather than jobs that come at the expense of dignity,” said Mohammad Pournik, Poverty Practice Leader at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Centre in Cairo, Egypt, who said one of the demands of Arab youth is having jobs without the need for intermediaries or connection, known as 'wasta'.

The private sector has remained among the least competitive globally due to low rates of investment, a poor regulatory environment, and widespread nepotism and corruption, the report added.

Entitled 'Rethinking Economic Growth: Towards Inclusive and Productive Arab Societies', the UNDP report also highlighted the fact the region had the lowest productivity growth rate of any world region between 2000 and 2010 except Latin America, with 1.5 percent for North Africa and 1.2 percent for the Middle East against a world average of 1.8 percent.

“In 2010, Arabs were more likely to find work than they were two decades ago,” said the lead author of the report, Zafiris Tzannatos. “But the question is what type of work? Workers were increasingly educated but the jobs being created were low-skilled and low-paid. In most countries, workers could not make their voices heard through trade unions or the ballot box.”

The report recommended that governments in the region introduce macroeconomic policies aimed at improving productivity and increasing average wages and more increased social dialogue between governments, workers, and employers.

“Arabs need an inclusive development model that is grounded in social justice,” said the ILO’s Regional Director for the Arab States, Nada al-Nashif.

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RBH 7 years ago

This is because the best jobs and the high salaries are given to the westerners - a sort of 'wasta.' Young Arab minds that are already embracing western idiologies and self-independence are being ignored and under-rated by the older Arab generation who view the regional population in total, not just the youth, from their own backminded and tunnel-visioned perspectives and so they rate individuals on the basis of passports and not the minds.

Moreover, 'wasta' is nothing but oblique intermediaries between the arrogant rich and the corrupt businesses and governments. One of the main reasons for the Arab spring is the wide-scale practice of 'wasta' in the region. However, as the region remains unstable and the power is always in the hands of the corrupt and the rich, there will be no near light for shedding off this horrible practice.

Lastly, the image used in this article should've included people from Lebanon, Syria or Egypt for an instance, not the Gulf!

Mankind 7 years ago

RBH, I believe they added a picture of youth from the gulf because the citizens of the gulf region tend to abuse their 'Wasta' more then other citizens around the world would.

They tend to obtain jobs where they have ZERO knowledge of doing it correct and end up adding more work on his/her employees. If they tend to do something wrong they would not receive any blame, salary cut and they would not even get fired, someone else who was doing their job correctly and had to take on more work for the sake of the person with the 'Wasta' will get the blame and he/she will either get a salary cut or get fired.

I might sound ignorant but I have witnessed it and I am just speaking the truth that many do not want to speak.

If its any region that sparked the Arab Spring it would have to be the gulf for there terrible treatment towards other Arabs who are not from the gulf and was trying to avoid this kind of treatment from there home country, the recession on top of it did not help at all.