IFC, Islamic Development Bank call for action on realizing Arab Youth potential

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CAIRO: International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Islamic Development Bank called for “urgent” action to tackle the unemployment crisis youth face in the Arab World.

“We are ready to support the region in designing e4e [education for employment] solutions, and we expect and trust that other stake holders will join us,” said Ahmed Mohamed Ali, Islamic Development Bank President.

The bank and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, launched Wednesday a report, titled “Education for Employment: Realizing Arab Youth Potential,” urging solutions for unemployment.

Enhancing the region’s education standards providing stronger “matchmaking” between employers and students are key issues that IFC and Islamic Development Bank hope will be tackled.

“IFC and the Islamic Development Bank are calling on all stakeholders to act decisively in designing appropriate e4e solutions,” said Lars Thunell, IFC Executive Vice president and CEO.

The report aims to facilitate a study of post-secondary education designed for employment systems across the entire Arab world, which will focus primarily on private sector opportunities.

“It shows that the private sector can be a powerful force for positive change by complementing public efforts to ensure that the region’s youth gain the right training and skills for the jobs being created,“ the report emphasized.

When provided with proper training, education, and financial assistance to meet their needs, the report believes Arab youth will serve the existing demand in society and concurrently “unleash the full potential of the private sector.”

One-third of the Arab world’s population are below 15 and one-third are below 15-29; 25 percent of those youth are unemployed, making the Arab world youth unemployment rate the highest in the world.

The report concludes that the percentage of unemployed youth costs the region $40-50 billion per year, which is equal to the GDP of countries like Tunisia or Lebanon.

Attending the launching of the report was Queen Rania Al Abdullah, Honorary Chair of the e4e initiative in Jordan, Robert B. Zoellick, president of World Bank Group from Washington DC.

IFC is the largest global development institution that focuses on the private sector in developing countries. The IFC also focuses on delivering advisory services to ensure sustainable development.


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