Youth unemployment rates in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are consistently the highest in the world, currently averaging about 30 percent. Youth-serving institutions (YSIs) can be an important resource for addressing unemployment, particularly among youth disadvantaged by poverty and low levels of education. YSIs can connect young people to labor markets by identifying what skills employers need in new hires, closing the skills gap through training and internship opportunities, and connecting job seekers and entrepreneurs with the resources required to launch careers. What types of YSIs operate in the Middle East and North Africa region? What services do they offer in the area of youth employability and entrepreneurship? What resources do YSIs need to better help young people prepare for and find jobs or start their own businesses? These are the questions that the International Youth Foundation (IYF) sought to answer in a 2013 survey of governmental, corporate, and nonprofit YSIs in the region.
With funding from the World Bank under the Global Partnership for Youth Employment, IYF surveyed 75 YSIs in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, and Saudi Arabia whose missions include addressing youth livelihoods, and who in total reached about two million young people in the 12 months prior to the survey. The study aimed to better understand their capacity to successfully implement existing youth employability and entrepreneurship programming and to make recommendations about how to strengthen the sector’s impact in this area.
Organizations were asked about their annual budget, scope of services, number of youth served, and types of employability programming offered. The survey also asked respondents to assess their own organizational capacity (such as levels of program funding and training infrastructure), the operational environment (such as youth competencies and cultural norms), and organizational training needs.
This report presents the study’s results and suggests next steps for increasing the effectiveness of youth employability programs in the region. Regional insights and findings are presented first, followed by a country-by-country analysis and recommendations of areas for future investment.