The economically diverse MENA region that spans from Morocco to Oman includes wealthy oil exporting states in the Gulf, energy importers scattered here and there and devastated countries by internal wars in between.
This region despite socio-cultural ties and community of past and present historical heritage finds it difficult to coordinate policies, especially those related to employment.
For millions of young people, jobs remain out of reach (currently standing at 29.5%) and the problem has only worsened in the period of after the so called Arab Spring. The problem has lately worsened according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the local authorities are in the belief that widespread joblessness could definitely be only good ground for militantism and / or any other alternative activities not always productive.
However one of the most important reason is this sudden “youth bulge” in the populations creating therefore huge demand for jobs perhaps unintentionally at a time of slow economic growth. Otherwise it could be the generally arcane education systems coupled with a tenacious social stigma about site work as opposed to the more cosy office one. Gender related discriminatory attitudes bear their own share of the symptoms.
Another reason of importance is this omnipresent conflict between middle and higher education whereas the latter segment far outnumbers the former. In Jordan for instance, it is thought to be preferably the other way around, i.e. less higher education and more down to earth skillsets.
Ideas of Education for Employment (EFE) are rapidly spreading around the Middle East and helping to locally fill up the numerous openings in the construction and agricultural vacant posts. It is believed that this ‘kind of training, short-term and targeted could be a big part of the solution’.
These openings would have otherwise been filled ineluctably by expatriate workers , numbers of which reached 80 to 90 percent of the populations of most of the GCC countries, all despite high unemployment rates of the local indigenous populations.