Abraj Al Bait Towers

Majority of young Arabs consider alarming levels of unemployment as the biggest challenge they face, a survey report showed.

The Arab Youth Survey 2019 found that as many as 89 percent of young Arabs are worried about unemployment in their countries.

The findings of the survey, commissioned by Asda'a BCW, were released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during the IMF-World Bank annual meetings in Washington DC.

Apart from unemployment, the survey found that the rising cost of living in the region is an important concern for the youth.

There is a wide disparity in opinion between the youth in the oil-rich Gulf states and their counterparts in several other countries in the Arab region.

For instance, while 80 percent of Iraqi youths interviewed in the survey have no confidence in their government's ability to resolve unemployment problem, 97 per cent of youths in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) believe that their government has the capability to do so.

Government Employment

Majority of young Arabs in the Gulf region also consider governments as a source of employment, while their counterparts in North Africa and Levant look at the private sector for employment, showed the survey, which is the largest study of its kind in the region.

"As a developing region with some of the fastest-growing economies in the world, Arab youth cannot afford to be left behind," Asda'a BCW founder and president Sunil John said while presenting the findings at a panel that consisted of ministers, financial experts and top-level private sector executives from the region.

"Now, more than ever, the region's young people require the support of their governments if they are to realise their potential and take up the productive, fulfilling and rewarding careers which are needed to drive the economies of the region to greater heights," he added. 

A recent World Bank research also showed that 30 percent of youths in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region in the age group of 18-24 years are unemployed, indicating the highest unemployment level in the world. Unemployment levels are more in civil war-hit countries like Yemen, which has an unemployment level of more than 13 per cent.