Education for Employment: Realizing Arab Youth Potential, Education for Employment (e4e) Project
The Arab World faces extraordinary challenges. In a region with the world’s highest youth unemployment rate,
millions are frustrated by their job prospects–a frustration born of education that often leaves them unprepared
for the marketplace. Educational shortcomings pose serious economic and social risks in the Arab World.
The solution to this challenge will require the involvement of a broad array of stakeholders–not only students,
but also governments, employers, education providers, and civil society. No one entity alone can be held
responsible, increasing the difficulty of delivering a comprehensive remedy.
This report aims to find a way forward. It shows that the private sector can be a powerful force for positive
change by complementing public efforts to ensure that the region’s youth gain the right skills for the jobs being
The report outlines the perspectives of multiple stakeholders toward what we call e4e. It identifies areas for
private sector investment and the incentives needed for businesses to seize them. At the same time, it emphasizes
the vital role to be played by e4e’s relevant stakeholders. The need for e4e programs is vast. Yet the region’s e4e
providers are relatively few in number. In addition, the region needs better standards, more access to finance for
students, and stronger matchmaking between students, and potential employers.
IFC and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) have long collaborated on issues in the Arab World, but the e4e
initiative marks our first work together on this critical issue. We are ready to support the region in designing e4e
solutions, and we expect and trust that other stakeholders will join us.
We must act decisively. We must act jointly. We must act now. The future of the region depends on it.