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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Towards a public governance framework for effective and inclusive youth engagement

As a cross-cutting policy area, youth policy in the MENA region suffers from the lack of a strategic and co-ordinated approach. In the absence of an integrated framework to define the “why”, “how” and “what for” of youth policy, government interventions tend to be symbolic. As policy outcomes in favour of youth suffer from weak co-ordination and impact-orientation, MENA youth express significantly less trust in government than the age group of 50+. Against the two-fold challenge – young people’s exclusion from the policy cycle and the lack of mainstreamed youth concerns in public policies and strategies – this chapter argues that governments should apply a “youth lens” to open government tools and traditional forms of policy making and integrate youth in governance processes that are typically left at the discretion of policy makers.

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