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[Brainstorming] How to Engage MENA Youth in Shaping its own Future?

  • Starts: Jun 27, 2016
  • Ends: Jun 27, 2016
  • Location: CMI, Marseille, France
  • By: World Bank, CMI
  • Lead Organizations

    Event organized by the World Bank Group and the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI)



    Half of the population in the Middle East and North Africa is under 25 years old.


    According to the International Labour Organization, 28% of them are unable to find jobs. This is the highest unemployment rate in the world, especially with university graduates. Young women are particularly affected as only 13 % of female youth are in labor force and one third are neither educated, trained, nor employed (ILO, 2015). Beyond the economic aspect, the situation is far from bright. According to the Arab Youth Survey 3 out of 5 are dissatisfied with the outcome of the “Arab Spring”.


    Today more than any other time, the social and economic inclusion of youth is central to both the growth and stability of the Middle East and North Africa region.



    Following the recent adoption by the World Bank Group of a new development strategy for the Middle East and North Africa region on one hand, and the adoption of “youth” as a new overarching theme for CMI’s activities on the other, the World Bank Group and the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI) invited a group of young opinion-leaders to weigh in on the barriers that youth face in their countries.


    More than thirty young influencers, activists, entrepreneurs, and connectors, from across the region (Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia), as well as representatives from regional institutions working on youth, gathered in Marseille to brainstorm about the region’s challenges, discuss strategic priorities for youth engagement and identify opportunities to foster existing and future solutions.


    The region-wide consultation aimed to:

    • Identify and map the existing initiatives that connect MENA youth;
    • Explore the expectations of youth and how to best translate them into innovative spaces and solutions;
    • Leverage partnerships to scale interventions.


    The brainstorming session explored the idea of a regional youth platform that would provide more visibility to locally grown solutions (economic opportunities and voice opportunities), and would allow for social entrepreneurs to inspire one another by being better connected within the region and to the rest of the world. It essentially focused on two complementary approaches:

    • WeWork – exploring tools and mechanisms that facilitate the entrepreneurial culture and promote innovation spaces;
    • WeAct – creating a platform for dialogue and engagement to connect youth at local, national and regional levels from across the Mediterranean and build powerful narratives.


    Young, Loud and Clear

    In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), being young is a superpower. It is the youth who have started revolutions, led their countries to freedom and made history. In this set of videos, ten of the region’s most aspiring youth speak about their generation’s achievements, challenges, dreams and legacy.




    From the Day



    In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the young have been the force of change. They have started revolutions, led their countries to freedom and made history. The CMI gathered a group of outstanding young people from across the region and asked them how they did it and what their superpower was!