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Sun 20 Oct 2019 03:20 PM

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Nearly 90% of young Arabs worried about unemployment

Statistics from the ASDA'A BCW Arab Youth survey found a significant divide between Gulf Arabs and their peers elsewhere

Nearly 90% of young Arabs worried about unemployment
Founder, ASDA’A BCW Sunil John (foreground) speaking at an event, “Youth Aspirations in the Middle East and North Africa,” organised by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during the IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings in Washington, DC. Joining John on the panel were (L-R) moderator Brian Cheung, reporter with Yahoo Finance; Her Excellency Sahar Nasr, Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation; Jihad Azour, Director, IMF Middle East and Central Asia; and Syrine Chaalala, co-Founder and Managing Director, nextProtein. 

An overwhelming proportion of young Arabs are concerned about alarming levels of unemployment in their countries, according to new findings from the 2019 ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey.

According to the statistics, 89 percent of young Arabs are worried about unemployment.

The statistic was revealed at an event organised by the International Monetary Fund during the IMF and World Bank annual meeting in Washington DC, which was attended by Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr, IMF regional director Jihad Azour and Syrine Chaalala, the co-founder and managing director of nextProtein.

World Bank research has found that 30 percent of 18 to 24 year olds in the Middle East and North Africa are out of work – the highest unemployment rate in the world.

Cost of living

The youth survey also found that the rising cost of living and unemployment are the top two concerns for young people across the wider region, with a significant divide between Arabs living in the Gulf and their peers elsewhere.

In the UAE, for example, 97 percent of youth in the UAE are confident that their national government has the capacity to battle rising unemployment, while 80 percent of Iraqi youth have no confidence in their government’s ability to do the same.

Young Arabs in the GCC also were found to view their governments as a source of employment, with 69 percent saying they hope to work in the public sector, compared to 40 percent in North Africa and 39 percent in the Levant.

“As a developing region with some of the fastest growing economies in the world, Arab youth cannot afford to be left behind,” said ASDA’A BCW founder and president Sunil John. “Now, more than ever, the region’s young people require the support of their governments if they are to realise their potential and take up the productive, fulfilling and rewarding careers which are needed to drive the economies of the region to greater heights.”