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Tackling youth unemployment worldwide represents one of the biggest challenges of our time. Currently, two out of five young people are either unemployed or underemployed. In the Arab Mediterranean Countries (AMCs), in particular, millions of young men and women find themselves out of a job, with youth unemployment rates reaching 32% in 2014, more than doubling the global average of 14%.

While there are several factors behind such high levels of youth unemployment, including growing demographics, fast urbanisation, political, economic, and social trends, one that stands out is the fact that education, particularly in the AMCs, does not necessarily lead to employment.


Written by Ana Martiningui, Research and Communications Manager at Education For Employment Europe (EuropEFE) under the SAHWA Project, this Handbook aims to help address the AMCs’ youth unemployment crisis by providing some guidelines for practitioners working or wishing to work on youth unemployment in the region. It explores national and international initiatives and provides an overview of the labour market situation in Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia. It also includes a comprehensive, practical factbook and a directory of the main actors in education and employment in each country that can serve as a focal point for practitioners in these countries. You can read more here: http://sahwa.eu/OUTPUTS/Publications/Handbook-on-Education-for-Employment

Education in the Arab Mediterranean countries (AMCs) not only does not guarantee employment, but in many countries could be increasing the chances of being unemployed. In some places, unemployment among female diploma- holders surpasses 90%. As the AMCs become more involved in the global economy, new skills are demanded, but regional educational systems are failing to prepare students to successfully find and maintain a decent job. Companies are reportedly struggling to find skilled workers to fill vacancies. This, combined with other factors, has led to a severe youth unemployment crisis with which the region’s economies are struggling to cope, pushing many young people to seek opportunities elsewhere.

How can we solve this major skills gap? What are the most demanded skills? What can be done to match AMCs’ vast labour supply with labour demand? How is youth unemployment in the AMCs affecting migration patterns worldwide?

To address these and other questions, on September 29 EuropEFE organised in Madrid a high-level seminar with government representatives from Spain and Arab Mediterranean countries, academics and the business community. For more information, check http://sahwa.eu/NEWS/SAHWA-Event-in-Madrid-Youth-Unemployment-in-the-Arab-Mediterranean-Countries

New York - Sharjah, September 23, 2016

Alongside the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly, Education For Employment’s (EFE) signature initiative expanding opportunities for women across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), titled the ‘Global Women’s Inclusion Initiative,’ has announced Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, UAE, and Chairperson of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA), as their first and only Honorary Patron for Global Women’s Inclusion.The announcement was made during a joint reception hosted by NAMA and EFE on September 22, 2016 in New York City to announce the launch of the initiative. Under Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi’s patronage and support, the EFE Global Women’s Inclusion Initiative aims to reach over 10,000 young women across the MENA region by 2020 through EFE’s distinctive skills training and job placement programmes, as well as career pathways and entrepreneurship support.

The evening brought together renowned individuals, including leaders and influencers active in the field of women’s empowerment, workforce development, education and MENA–USA relations, as well as prominent board members and executives from EFE’s global network. The evening highlighted the successes of the Jeel Initiative, a collaboration between EFE and the Sharjah Business Women Council (SBWC) – a NAMA affiliate – as a model for women’s economic inclusion, and overviewed how the new Global Women’s Inclusion Initiative will further bolster NAMA’s and EFE’s efforts in the field of women’s employment and empowerment across MENA.

Addressing the audience on behalf of Her Highness, HE Ameera BinKaram, Vice-Chairperson of NAMA, Chairperson of Sharjah Business Women Council, and Advisory Board Member of EFE-UAE, highlighted EFE's commitment to helping women with limited opportunity to build their skills through professional training linked to tangible jobs or follow-up support. In a compelling statement, Binkaram said, “Dedicating her life to women’s emancipation and development, HH Sheikha Jawaher has been an ardent propagator of women-focused issues for the past 30 years. Under her leadership, NAMA’s mandate is to develop opportunities for women in the economic, professional and social sectors. Her Highness launched in 2015 the Jeel pilot programme that helped a shortlisted 38 talented women as a starting point and unleashed their economic potential. With tonight’s announcement, we reaffirm our full commitment to carry this torch forward, covering the entire emirate of Sharjah and other geographical areas. As the EFE Global Women’s Inclusion Initiative’s Honorary Patron, HH Sheikha Jawaher will continue to lead the way as we expand on the potential of women and raise awareness about their role as an indispensable resource for the development of every nation.”

“Through the JEEL Initiative, NAMA and EFE have helped women with limited opportunity to unlock their potential as business and community leaders. It is our honour to build on this track record of successful collaboration to support young women across the Middle East and North Africa in using economic opportunity to create a positive future for themselves, their communities, and society”, BinKaram added, highlighting the significant strides NAMA and SBWC have made in creating new jobs in geographical areas which are underdeveloped and insulated from market outreach.

Honoured by Sheikha Jawaher’s acceptance and support, Ron Bruder, the Founder of EFE and the Chair of its Board of Directors, said, “With Her Highness’ leadership as Patron for Women’s Inclusion, EFE will scale up and innovate to reach our goal of enabling tens of thousands of women to engage in their economies and societies in the MENA region, including in Sharjah, under Her Highness’ patronage.”

Emphasizing EFE’s belief that women are engines who can drive positive change in entire communities, Bruder stated that, “Education For Employment’s founding conviction is simple: with the right skills and tangible opportunities, youth – especially young women – can thrive. We see this each day in the tens of thousands of young women who we have linked to jobs, startup support or pathways to employment. They demonstrate that with economic opportunity, women transform their own lives and uplift their families and communities. We are honored to expand this impact under the visionary patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi.”

The Women’s Inclusion Initiative in MENA affirms that women possess immense potential as a human resource, and can contribute significantly and in equal proportion to the male population, not only through engaging as business owners and employees that fuel a nation’s economy, but also as drivers of change in the all-important global discourse on women’s emancipation and advancement.


 

About NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA)


NAMA’s core philosophy is to raise awareness that women are an indispensable human resource for development of every nation. NAMA was conceived to go beyond the remit of supporting women and ensuring gender equality to a broader scope that aims to see women become influential key members of society, thereby enabling them to climb the ladder of success. It encourages policies and legislation to support women, actively pursues programmes that support gender integration into all sectors and abolish unjust practices and policies that discriminate against women advancement. NAMA aims to develop opportunities for women in three major sectors; economic, professional and social. NAMA is mandated to launch, manage and supervise initiatives, programmes and projects with local, global and international partners that develop women in the country, the region and internationally. Its three affiliates Sharjah Business Women Council, Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council and NAMA Fund fall under the umbrella of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment.

 

About Sharjah Business Women Council (SBWC)

The Sharjah Business Women Council was established in 2002 to contribute to the economic and social development of the Emirate of Sharjah by supporting women’s full economic integration and assisting female talents in maximising their potential. SBWC currently has 1,500 business women, professionals, students and graduates, and aspiring individuals, registering a steadfast growth of 21 new members per month. SBWC is able to communicate, connect and cater to members through a tailor-made membership management system that includes 1-on-1 consultation and coaching, legal advice, and dispute resolution and business guidance. A core focus of the council is entrepreneurship development, which it encourages through programmes such as Badiri Women’s Enterprise Development Virtual Academy and Jeel, geared towards creating the next generation of women and youth entrepreneurs.

 

About Education For Employment

Education For Employment (EFE) is the leading youth employment non-profit organization in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) working towards empowering youth with the skills and opportunities to help them create a better future for themselves, their communities, and the world. EFE partners with the private sector, foundations, large public universities, and government ministries to create tangible economic opportunity for underserved youth; to enhance how educational institutions prepare young women and men for the workforce; and to change the attitudes of employers, educators, and youth. Since 2006, EFE has pioneered a demand-driven approach to helping over 10,000 unemployed, high potential youth to secure their first job while supporting more than 2,000 businesses to obtain the entry-level talent they need to grow. Over half of EFE’s graduates are young women, reflecting EFE’s special focus on supporting women’s economic empowerment. The EFE Network is comprised of locally-run EFE affiliates in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, with support hub offices in the USA (New York City and Washington, DC), Europe (Madrid) and the UAE (Dubai).

 

Arabian Business, the leading corporate news source in the Arab world, featured an in-depth article on Education For Employment’s work in its July 29, 2016 issue. In “Just the job: US entrepreneur Ron Bruder,” Arabian Business outlines the underlying causes of youth unemployment in the region, and describes why EFE’s model has been effective in meeting the challenge, from the local network of EFE affiliates to collaboration with over 2,000 partners.

You can read the full article here.

 

 

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, and in particular the Arab Mediterranean countries (AMCs), has the world’s youngest demographic, but also the highest youth unemployment rates. This significantly hampers economic growth, stability and development. While there are several factors behind such high levels of youth unemployment, one that stands out is the fact that education in the region does not lead to employment.

Written by Ana Martiningui, Research and Communications Manager at Education For Employment Europe (EuropEFE) under the SAHWA Project, this Policy Paper examines the youth unemployment crisis in five AMCs – Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia. It offers practical region-wide policy recommendations for EU policymakers, governments in the region, businesses and NGOs that can be translated into measures geared towards harnessing all of the region’s potential to “get the job done” in the Arab Mediterranean countries. You can read more here: http://sahwa.eu/NEWS/SAHWA-s-Policy-Paper-on-employment-in-the-AMCs-now-online

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