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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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Readjusting public governance frameworks towards youth demands and inclusive growth

Despite the prominent role they played in the civil uprisings in the early 2010s, MENA youth are trapped in an observer status. Five years after young men and women took to the streets to call for more democratic governance and economic opportunities, they are facing limited opportunities to influence policy making. Moreover, access to decent employment, quality education and affordable healthcare is restricted for many. With the serious deterioration of the security situation in some countries, a whole generation of young men and women is facing the risk of social and economic exclusion. In line with the OECD New Approaches to Economic Challenges (NAEC) initiative, the OECD report, “Policy Shaping and Policy Making: The Governance of Inclusive Growth” as well as the OECD Guiding Principles for Open and Inclusive Policy Making, this chapter introduces the argument that MENA governments need to readjust their public governance arrangements towards the demands of young people to make inclusive growth happen and deliver tailored public services.

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