Call for submissions: The Arab Reform Initiative's 2023 Student Essay Contest

What policy reforms and/or policy alternatives should be articulated to counter the Arab region's chronic youth unemployment?

The Arab region is well-known for its labor market deficits. The prevalence of rentier economic models and political instability have resulted in limited sustainable and inclusive job creation. Youth, in particular, suffer from low labor force participation and high unemployment rates in most Arab countries. The proportion of youth in total unemployment in the region is more than twice the regional unemployment rate, exceeding 40% in countries like Lebanon, Tunisia, Libya, ad Palestine (ILO, 2022). These figures are higher than the global average and are largely determined by recent social upheavals, internal crises, and external shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Youth in the Arab region are also affected by the issue of skills mismatch and the need for complementary education to offset it (e.g. extra and often private courses in English, IT, etc.), which keeps many of them not just out of work but also out of education or training (i.e. NEETs). Arab States are hardly doing anything to improve young people's economic inclusion, benefit from their productivity, and allow them to thrive as active members of society. What policies should be prioritized to solve the long-standing youth unemployment crisis in your country or in a number of national contexts in the region?

In a policy op-ed of approximately 1,500 words, please answer the question above.