Youth Unemployment: The Middle East’s Ticking Time-Bomb, by World View

The devil, as they say, finds work for idle hands. From World View by Stratfor, via zerohedge.com:

Highlights

  • With labor markets in the Middle East and North Africa swamped due to a baby boom, countries in the region will continue to face the acute challenge of massive youth unemployment.  
  • Though each state struggles with its own circumstances, most countries will face daunting hurdles as they try to build strong private sectors. 
  • Even if these states do foster more robust private sectors, they may not be able to mitigate the economic hardship when it hits their citizens, due to the uncontrollable nature of the free market. 

Earlier this month, Dubai hosted the World Government Summit, welcoming dignitaries from around the world for talks on global happiness. But amid all the discussions of more contented societies lurked a more pressing issue right on the Emiratis’ doorstep: the prospect that 5 million workers are set to enter the Middle East’s job market each year, even as gainful employment is in short supply. That, at least, was on the mind of Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, who once more exhorted Arab governments to address youth unemployment — and fast. No one was about to disagree. From Morocco to Iran, states and leaders of all sects, political systems and governing systems understand the threat posed by the region’s high youth unemployment.

Although regional leaders agree on the need to increase employment, there is a good reason why youth unemployment remains stubbornly above the global average in the Middle East and North Africa. From building vibrant private sectors to finding the right jobs for youth to chasing technological silver bullets, many states have encountered hurdles in searching for a solution. Even if these countries do foster their private sectors and a technological boom, they will open themselves to market forces that they can scarcely control — a development that would challenge their already-strained social contracts with their people. Countries in the region are not blessed with decades to solve the issue of youth employment, but if they fail to find a resolution soon, the survival of these states will come into question.

To continue reading: Youth Unemployment: The Middle East’s Ticking Time-Bomb

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