Social media for the Arab jobless

April 15, 2010

In the realm of  long-term economic things to worry about, there is not much that can rival youth unemployment in the greater Middle East and North Africa. Some years ago, for example, the World Bank  estimated that the region’s population rise was such that jobs needed to grow by some 3.5 percent  per year if unemployment along the lines of one-in-four was to be avoided over the next couple of decades. There has been nothing of great note to change this forecast.

The International Monetary Fund has just weighed into the issue with a post on the subject and some startling figures on the depth of the problem. As author Masood Ahmed writes:

Simply put, the region is facing unparalleled demographic pressures. Population growth over the past two generations has been among the fastest in the world: the region’s work force is projected to reach 185 million in 2020, 80 percent higher than in 2000. And the region is one of the most youthful in the world—with about 60 percent of the population less than 25 years old.

The IMF says the best way it can help is to help governments in the region devise policies for macroeconomic stability and strong,  sustainable growth that is essential to creating jobs.

But it also reckons that it need to talk to the people it is worried about — the region’s  youth. So it has begun a series of roundtable meetings with what it sees as the next generation of leaders from the region’s most prestigious universities.

Slightly more unusually, however, it has also turned to social media.  Imfyouthdialog.org is a social networking site designed to get young people from the greater Middle East and North Africa taking about their problems.

It has 283 members so far, but to look at the IMF’s figures a potential audience of many, many millions more.

No comments so far

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

[...] In responding to this unrivaled demographic shift, IMF staff are reaching out to the next generation of leaders to discuss policy to attain sustainable growth  to generate the new employment opportunities required.  Reuters suggests Social media for the Arab Jjobless. [...]