Unemployment just as threatening as Daesh to Arab youth
While it is obvious for Arab youth to view terrorism as the biggest threat to their region following the rise of ISIS (or Daesh) in recent years, you might be surprised to know that they ranked unemployment as an equally threatening obstacle.
According to the recently published Arab Youth Survey 2017, “more than one in three young Arabs (35 percent) believe that the biggest obstacle to the development of the Middle East is unemployment, compared to 2016, when exactly half the youth population perceived the rise of Daesh as the main obstacle.”
And while Daesh and the threat of terrorism remain at the foreground with 35 percent and 34 percent respectively, unemployment came out as the alarming top contender this year, topping other frequently cited political concerns such as the lack of democracy (17 percent) and even the Palestinian-Israeli conflict (16 percent).
The survey shows that a whopping one in two young Arabs are unsure about their job prospects, with young Iraqis expressing the strongest concerns (66 percent), followed by young people in Algeria (64 percent), Bahrain (60 percent), the Palestinian Territories (57 percent) and Lebanon (55 percent).
On the other hand, half of surveyed youth expressed doubts in their national governments’ ability to deal with unemployment. Lebanese youth where the least likely to be confident in their government when it comes to dealing with the issue, with only 19 percent actually expressing confidence, followed closely by their fellow Iraqis (24 percent).
But the political system is not the only variable to blame here, as many participants, notably those outside the GCC, expressed similarly major concerns about the educational system in their countries. “Nearly half the Arab youth said they were not satisfied with the current level of preparation of students for the jobs of the future,” the survey report reads.
This being said, International Monetary Fund (IMF) data has indicated that the top 5 states with the highest rates of youth joblessness in the Arab region are Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.