Reforms needed to address MidEast jobs problem

World Economic Forum reports say political, economic change will ease jobless issue
Reforms needed to address MidEast jobs problem
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)
By Andy Sambidge
Wed 06 Jun 2012 05:46 PM

Political and economic reform is needed in the Middle East to address the region’s chronic problem of youth unemployment, according to two reports released by the World Economic Forum on Wednesday.

The first - Perspectives on Youth Employment in the Arab World in 2012 - is a direct response to helping solve the region’s unique problems in the wake of the Arab Spring as it bids to sustain early gains generated from transitions of power in some countries.

“With youth unemployment in the Middle East higher than any other region worldwide, there is a massive political and economic imperative to getting Arab youths into work,” said Miroslav Dusek, director, head of Middle East and North Africa, World Economic Forum.

“We hope that decision-makers are able to use this collection of novel thought leadership and global best practice to yield real results.”

The report focuses on a number of issues including female economic empowerment, building Arab civil society to promote economic growth, access to credit, education for employment and a paradigm shift in government from creating jobs to enabling job creation.

The second report - Role of Large Employers in Driving Job Creation in the Arab World - is primarily focused on the role large employers can play in addressing regional unemployment through skills matching and skills development.

The report, a collaboration between Booz & Company, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) and the World Economic Forum, said large employers, including both state-owned national enterprises and privately owned conglomerates, and the critical role that they play in many Arab economies as the structural backbone in growth sectors such as energy, mining and telecom.

“We need to act now,” said Joe Saddi, chairman of the Board at Booz & Company.

“Governments’ regulation led initiatives alone are insufficient - a new paradigm is needed along with new capabilities.

"The public sector needs to engage with the other main stakeholders, namely large employers and educators, to identify the attractive jobs, shape training programs and attract investments to create employment opportunities."

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