Adonis Diaries

Archive for February 27th, 2014

Youth Unemployment in Middle East and North Africa: How terrible is that trend?

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA region) face significant challenges when it comes to youth unemployment. A World Economic Forum report from 2012 notes, “Unemployment in the MENA region is the highest in the world…and largely a youth phenomenon.”

The Middle East and North Africa are not alone in terms of a serious lack of opportunity for many young people.

In the second quarter of 2012, the economically troubled European Union had a youth unemployment rate of 22.6%, as opposed to the OECD-wide average of 16.2 percent.

For example, Portugal had 38.7% youth unemployment, and Spain and Greece had staggering rates of 52.4 percent and 54.2%, respectively.

By contrast, the United States had 16.3 percent youth unemployment and Germany’s youth employment was an enviable 8.2 percent.

 posted on June 14, 2013

INSIGHT: Youth Unemployment in Middle East, North Africa

I’ve previously highlighted troubling trends in youth employment, including the problem of students whose lack of soft skills ( like apprenticeships?) preclude them from employment.

Employers’ dissatisfaction with the education levels of the workforce in GCC countries, and young Tunisians’ disillusionment with the opportunities available in their country and accompanying desire to emigrate.

To match Feature TUNISIA-UNEMPLOYMENT/

While some have raised issues with the way that these eye-popping European numbers are calculated (suggesting that the real rate is more like half of the headline numbers – but that’s still very high), there is little doubt that many youth – particularly in the MENA region and the struggling European economies – are losing out on economic opportunities, and consequently, hindering their lifetime earning potential.

“How should countries tackle youth unemployment? It’s an immense challenge, requiring solutions that will, at their best, involve private, public, and non-profit sectors.” – Isobel Coleman, Council on Foreign Relations

How should countries tackle youth unemployment? It’s an immense challenge, requiring solutions that will, at their best, involve private, public, and non-profit sectors.

Germany and Spain’s labor ministers should be praised for their pragmatism in brokering a deal that will give apprenticeships in Germany to some 5,000 unemployed Spanish young people yearly – a move that is also a win for Germany, which needs additional qualified employees as its labor pool shrinks.

take 7 INSIGHT: Youth Unemployment in Middle East, North Africa

Graph by author. Data are from ILO’s Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013 report. Regional data are from ILO’s 2012 preliminary estimates; U.S. and E.U. data are from the OECD’s second quarter 2012 data.

Non-profits are also pursuing interesting innovations with respect to tackling youth unemployment. LivelyHoods in Kenya, for instance, trains young people from Kenyan slums to sell useful products in their communities (e.g. solar lamps); the training includes vital business skills like customer service and financial literacy. In the Middle East and North Africa, Education for Employment connects young people to employers and also trains young people on finding jobs and on the soft skills that employers value. The organization has had particularly impressive results in high-unemployment Tunisia, where it began working in 2012: it has since graduated more than 540 Tunisians from its training programs and found employment for all of those in its job placement training program. The challenge, of course, is scaling up these initiatives.

Programs like these are particularly important because high levels of youth unemployment – in addition to limiting young people’s life prospects – stand to affect political trends, especially in countries that are transitioning to democratic rule. In a forthcoming book that I co-edited, Pathways to Freedom: Political and Economic Lessons From Democratic Transitions, one important takeaway is the critical role that inclusive economic development plays in sustaining democratic transitions. Libya’s plan to put billions of dollars towards funds that small and medium-sized businesses can access – in an explicit effort to create jobs – could help promote democratization there, especially if implemented in a transparent manner.

This post was originally published on blogs.cfr.org.

The views expressed in this Insight are the author’s own and are not endorsed by Middle East Voices or Voice of America. If you’d like to share your opinion on this post, you may use our democratic commenting system below. If you are a Middle East expert or analyst associated with an established academic institution, think tank or non-governmental organization, we invite you to contribute your perspectives on events and issues about or relevant to the region. Please email us through our Contact page with a short proposal for an Insight post or send us a link to an existing post already published on your institutional blog.

 INSIGHT: Youth Unemployment in Middle East, North Africa

Isobel Coleman

Isobel Coleman is senior fellow and director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative as well as director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations. On Twitter, she can be followed at Isobel_Coleman.

Read more at Middle East Voices: http://middleeastvoices.voanews.com/2013/06/insight-youth-unemployment-in-middle-east-north-africa-86923/#ixzz2uKynpEjP

Freedom or Liberty? Time to dissect an operational framework for the notion of Freedom

Do you understand what is meant by Freedom? How do you apply your “freedom”. What are the restrictions attached to your acts of freedom?

If Liberty has a statewide political connotation of independence and autonomy (already a terrible headache in the UN), the notion of Freedom is far more confusing and subject to political maneuvering in the dialogues and discussions.

The problem in the English language is the restriction on the usage of the term Liberty, such as Liberation or being liberated (any other ways?)

For example “We are not freed from the shackles. Someone else liberated us from the shackles of slavery and bondage, by a political decision and not on our free will”

For example, you read oxymoron terms like “Free Trade, Free Market, Free Expression, Free Sex…”  What is free in these expressions? And how they are that free?

If we replaced these expressions with “Libre trade, libre market, libre sex, libre opinions...” the citizens will acquire useful political terminologies and political education. These terms connote political decisions among communities and the treaties are spelled out in details.

For example, “libre from addiction” would relate to a specific addiction since mankind behaves intrinsically within a network (a web) of habits and customs.

Also, “libre sex” means a politically tolerant society and is different from free sex that has a monetary connotation attached to it. Sure, there are first time free sex, but the second time is never that free, but highly expensive in many ways.

Until the English language is liberated and the politicians liberate the term Freedom from their political maneuvering and taking Freedom hostage in their discourse and speeches, we have to contend in navigating the meander of Freedom.

Setting up an operational framework for this general and confusing “value” of Freedom is an endeavor to giving flesh and new blood to the mishandled expression of “Freedom for the people

A clear taxonomy for the definition of Freedom is tightly linked on how we define the other “set of value systems” that are connected to the term of freedom and are interrelated in the various fields of applications such as in economy, finance, politics, individual rights, human rights, and range of opportunities…

There is two main divergences for comprehending freedom: Individual freedom and “Community Freedom

If we take the “western” position that freedom is an individual right, we must raise the question: “How would you define freedom for each one of the 7 billion people and increasing? All these people with various customs, traditions and idiosyncrasies?

7 billion struggling within fast changing social environments, fast communication means, interacting quickly and observing the reality of what’s happening outside their close communities and the limitations offered within their social systems?

This is a daunting task that must be confronted piece meal, one problem at a time.

In order to avoid the bad connotation attached to individual freedom such as “Give me my space: I want to do what I like to do…” the concept of responsibility was closely linked to Freedom.

First, you have to practice tolerance with respect to the other people living in your community before you expand your space for freedom

Tolerance was included as the linkage between freedom and responsibility. It is the community job to educate its members on what is expected to tolerate and how to work out the pragmatic differences in value systems.

“A field separates the ideas of right and wrongdoings. I meet there” Rumi

It is also the community responsibility to open channel of communications with neighboring communities and compare their corresponding educational system for absorbing daily confrontations.

For example, if a western State or the wider EU block enact laws that have to be applied to all its members, this is tantamount to forming “cultural blocks” within the larger community. A procedure that hinders the step by step process of  “nurturing tolerance assimilation“.

The multiple problems within a “Republic” State take roots by imposing a unique State “law framework” on communities that are not coherent due to historical and cultural discrepancies.

Any imposition of “forced tolerance” without the adequate financial means, economic opportunities and political determination to bridge the gap among communities will be faced with violent reactions of the “have’ and “have not” full rights within a society.

Another alternative is to work within “community Freedom” systems, with far lesser interrelations and a better framework of a consensus idiosyncratic life-style and world view to apply the concept of freedom.

The lazy way is to split the world systems into a preconceived mentality and confront one system against another. For example, the western culture, the Eastern culture, the Far-Eastern, the Middle-Eastern, the African or the Latino cultures.

That is the current approach of civilization clashes, of opposing value systems, pretty convenient to the colonial powers.

The still strong colonial domination blocks serious hurtful political concessions in order to come to term with a fast evolving world, each community vying for a corner under the sun.

Before stretching the concept of freedom to include all people, it is advisable that every State works out its value system, iron it out, implement it within the world framework.

This means to keep an opened and a flexible revolving door to understand other value systems for later connectivity), and observe, eyes wide open, the repercussions and consequences on the other societies.

Note: Margin for freedom https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/02/24/son-of-man-margin-for-freedom/


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