By 2020, between 80 and 100 million jobs need to be created in the Middle East and North Africa just to maintain current unemployment rates, according to the World Bank. This recent report by the Citi Foundation and Injaz Al-Arab titled “Unlocking Arab Youth Entrepreneurship” dives into the major problems facing youth employment in the region, namely the lack of job opportunities and appropriate skills training.
Those surveyed are taking part in Injaz's Company Program which offers business skills and entrepreneurship training.
“The Arab Spring countries are going through a deep and comprehensive transformational process. Small and medium enterprises now constitute 70% of the economy in Egypt and almost 60% of GDP growth, not only in Egypt, but all across the region. That’s why we believe that Arab youth should strive to work their way into the entrepreneurship world and start their own businesses,” said Dina El-Mofty, Executive Director of Injaz Egypt at a press conference announcing the report’s findings in Cairo on May 13th.
Highlights from the report include:
- 74% of students who participated in Injaz's entrepreneurship training programs feel more capable of handling leadership roles at work.
- 33% of those students would like to establish their own business after gaining the skills of leadership, team work, problem solving and work readiness.
- 70% of students in the sample receive vocational training in business skills at some point during their education.
The report puts a particular emphasis on re-focusing the region’s educational efforts to fill the gap between the capabilities of fresh graduates and the needs of employers. “The private and public sectors cannot accommodate this huge number of new employees alone; entrepreneurial initiatives, on the other hand, give hope for the future of the region,” adds El-Mofty.
“In a time when unemployment rates are on the rise, this cooperation between the private and public sectors and other stakeholders to promote entrepreneurship education will be fruitful. Each person can contribute their time and experience to support young entrepreneurs and facilitate job creation for future generations,” said Aftab Ahmed, CEO of Citibank Egypt. The two organizations agreed that the region needs to create an education system in which entrepreneurial skills are encouraged, and innovation is the end result.
Check out the full report on Injaz's Company Program in the grey box on the right.