Youth in the MENA Region

How to Bring Them In

image of Youth in the MENA Region

Young men and women in the MENA region are facing the highest youth unemployment levels in the world and express lower levels of trust in government than their parents. Since young people 15-29 years old exceed 30% of the working-age population in most MENA countries, governments urgently need to develop and implement strategies focused on fully engaging youth in the economy and society. This report is the first of its kind to apply a “youth lens” to public governance arrangements. It provides recommendations for adjusting legal frameworks, institutions and policies to give young people a greater voice in shaping better policy outcomes.

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Chapter 2. A glance at youth in the MENA region

This chapter takes a snapshot of the conditions for MENA youth to shape their future. It finds that the region’s largest youth cohort of all times is unsatisfied with the delivery of public services and policies that do not adequately address their needs. Today, exclusive public governance arrangements present a major impediment, which, in the case they remain unaddressed, risk slowing down young people’s transition to adulthood and active citizenship. With unemployment levels exceeding 30% in most countries and an even greater share of discouraged young men and women not in employment, education or training (NEET), MENA countries are deprived of a key source for their future social and economic development. Low levels of traditional forms of participation suggest that MENA youth are disappointed with the existing mechanisms to drive change.

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