Why UAE minister has hope for next generation despite exodus threat

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The UAE Minister of State for Youth Affairs on Tuesday delivered a message of hope to youths in the Arab world despite a survey painting a picture of mounting frustration.

Speaking at the launch of the 12th Annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey, Shamaa Al Mazrui said the most important message to come from the findings was hope and the “wave of innovation” being led in the region by the younger generation.

Unemployment and corruption: why millions of young Arabs mull quitting their homelands

12th Annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey also reveals that coronavirus has further increased young Arabs’ desire to emigrate

“Young Arabs are migrating away from traditional government and private sector jobs to show an increased interest in enterpeunirship and non-traditional work. In the GCC, 55 percent of youth said they would like to start their own business within the next five years. How will governments harness this energy and talent of youth to drive economies and social solutions?” asked Al Mazrui.

She said she believes that the innovation and growth opportunities for youth are “phenomenal”, adding it is high time governments start tapping into that.

“Because the alternatives are unacceptable. The growing gaps in youth education, youth unemployment and positive engagement create ripe conditions for extremism to grow,” she added.

Mazrui said she is not oblivious to the survey findings which point to 50 percent of Arab youth wanting to migrate to another country and 40 percent saying they want to permanently leave their country.

Video: Arab Youth Survey – what’s feeding regional frustrations?

Nearly half of 200 million young Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have considered leaving their country, frustrated with struggling economies and widespread government corruption, according to the findings of the 12th Annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey.

But she added: “Through the survey, youth gave us the raw data and the answers are in plain sight. So now we can shine a light of hope on both the loss and needs, as well as the ideas and dreams of Arab youth and forge a new path forward letting data lead the way.”

Her comments come as nearly half of 200 million young Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have considered leaving their country, frustrated with struggling economies and widespread government corruption, according to the survey.

Released earlier on Tuesday, the survey also reveals that the coronavirus pandemic has further increased young Arabs desire to emigrate, with one-third of the region’s youth more likely to want to leave their country.

Regionwide, 42 percent of young Arabs have considered emigrating to another country, with the desire to leave most prevalent (63 percent) among youth in the Levantine states of Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Yemen and Palestinian Territories.

Meanwhile, young people in the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states are least likely (13 percent) to consider leaving.

The survey said the primary drivers of potential emigration are economic reasons (24 percent) and corruption (16 percent), with educational opportunities, new experiences and safety and security also playing a significant role.

The survey polled 4,000 young Arab nationals aged 18-24 from 17 Arab states in the Middle East and North Africa with a 50:50 male female split.

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