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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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Foreword

Young men and women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region face the highest youth unemployment levels in the world and express lower levels of trust in government than their parents. With the share of youth (aged 15-29) exceeding 30% of the working-age population in most countries, MENA countries need to urgently develop and implement strategies focused on fully engaging youth in the economy, society and public life. So far, young people have only limited opportunities to influence policy making, and many lack adequate access to decent employment, quality education and affordable healthcare. The report is the first of its kind to apply a “youth lens” to public governance arrangements. It argues that governments can use open government tools to foster inclusive policy-making with a view to raising their voice in shaping policies and involving them in governance processes such as the allocation of public budgets. By “bringing youth in” to the policy-making process governments help ensure that their needs and concerns are taken into account across the whole of government. With youth on board, governments are more likely to deliver public services that are tailored to their specific needs and more accessible for vulnerable sub-groups such as young women and youth from rural backgrounds.

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