Political upheaval in many countries of the MENA region will undoubtedly impact YEO efforts— positively and negatively. Initial experiences from certain countries show that new regimes understand the importance of economic opportunities for youth and may be willing to chart a bold course to meet ambitious goals. However, at time of writing, it remains to be seen whether political upheaval will make programs, policies, and partnerships for YEO feasible in the coming year. It is clear that events surrounding the Arab Spring have mobilized youth leaders from all social strata in new ways. The YEO field will be challenged to support youth participation and leadership, assist institutions (especially vocational and higher education institutions) respond to youth and workforce needs, and guide governments towards more effective policies that support youth employment and entrepreneurship; all during a period of intense change. Developing economic opportunities for adolescent girls and young women, who now experience an unemployment rate twice that of men,82 will be a priority.
- “Putting Youth to Work: Legal, Fiscal, and Programmatic Opportunities for Job Creation in the MENA Region,” DAI, August 2011.