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Read the insights and opinions of experts from the region and beyond on issues related to YEM Project's thematic priorities.
Maram Al Khatib
Youth make up the majority of the population in the region and in a country like Jordan, where around 70% of the citizens fall under 30 years of age, this is a critical issue that must be addressed immediately. The youth unemployment rate in Jordan for the year of 2018 stands at a staggering 37.2%, which is noted to be one of the highest figures in the past 30 years and among the highest globally. Of this group, females are the worse affected, and despite having a slightly higher ratio of educated females to males, the female labour force participation rate is at only 14%. What are the main trends and how can these trends be reveresed?
Promoting productive employment opportunities dominates policy agendas around the world, particularly in the YEM Partner Countries. This is not surprising considering the demographic trends in these countries where a big – and expanding - share of the national populations is under the age of 25. Taking into consideration the demographic development of these countries one can see how the mismatch between population growth and lack of employment opportunities create migration pressure, and how youth skills development through TVET can help manage it.
The population in the Middle East and North Africa region is expected to double in size during the first half of the 21st century, with major changes in population age structure. The adolescents and youth population in almost all countries in the region will increase, expanding the share of the working-age population, with fewer dependents to support. Now is a historic opportunity to invest in the human capital of children and young people, enhancing their prospects for productive employment and economic growth. Investment in the health, protection and education of those transitioning into their most economically productive years – the children, adolescents and youth of today. This unique opportunity for a demographic dividend - economic growth due to demographic changes - will only present itself between now and 2040.
The Middle East and North Africa region have some of the best educated, unemployed people in the world. High-skill university graduates currently make up almost 30 percent of the unemployed pool of labor in MENA, many of them women. In Tunisia, slightly more than half of the working age population is out of work, the vast majority being women. Part of the problem is that, despite some economic growth, not enough new jobs are being created.