Non-Public Provision of Active Labor Market Programs in Arab-Mediterranean Countries: An Inventory of Youth Programs
This note presents and analyzes the main design features of an inventory of non-publicly provided Active Labor Market Programs (ALMPs) in Arab-Mediterranean Countries (AMCs), with a specific focus on programs targeted at youth. Despite considerable international evidence, there is little systematic analysis on the effectiveness of ALMPs in AMCs as most programs and investments remain largely un-assessed. Since most AMCs lack unemployment insurance systems or other safety nets for the unemployed, ALMPs constitute a relevant instrument to address the consequences of labor market frictions, such as high unemployment and slow school-to-work transition. Programs from nine countries are included in the inventory: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, West Bank and Gaza, and Yemen. Benchmarked against international best practices, assessment of the programs covered in the inventory reveals that the majority lack the necessary mix of design features that make programs effective. These findings call for urgent reforms in program design and delivery, especially given the sizeable financial investments in programs and the urgency to improve labor market outcomes among youth. This policy note constitutes a first step towards understanding and assessing provision of ALMPs in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and intends to provide policy makers and financiers with options for reform to enhance efficiency of existing programs and improve the design of future interventions. In addition to specific aspects of program design and implementation, stakeholder coordination needs to be strengthened and put at the forefront of ALMP reform.