The Arab world is bursting with a young and ambitious population, who rightly have high hopes for the future. Fulfilling these expectations presents the region with a great challenge, not least in creating an environment in which each young person can fulfil their professional potential.
Although the challenge is significant, the rewards are also great. That is precisely why we undertook this survey on behalf of the Arab Thought Foundation, the results of which I am pleased to present in this report. I hope it will make a contribution to our understanding of how the Arab world can work together to meet these challenges and reap the rewards.
The survey covers a host of issues that are pertinent to youth unemployment, and we hope to stimulate fresh debate on this topic by presenting insights from the survey on how regional integration might play a role in addressing youth unemployment. Designing and launching such a survey was itself a challenging task: while much work has been done on the topic of youth unemployment at the national level, the intention of this study was to contribute a more holistic view of the issues as they relate to the Arab world as a whole. Yet the Arab world is made up of a very diverse set of countries and affiliations. How can one study take both a holistic view and account for the significant variations that exist within the region?
The task at hand was therefore to deliver an analytically rigorous study that allowed for insights to be drawn across the region as a whole while also accounting for differences at the sub-regional level. A quantitative survey of over 350 participants from across the region yielded many interesting results, as well as some unexpected ones. Additional insights and key nuances inherent in such a diverse region were then further investigated through numerous in-depth discussions on youth unemployment with key stakeholders from around the Arab world. We are pleased to present the findings from both the quantitative survey and the qualitative discussions in this report.