Youth - An Undervalued Asset - Towards a New Agenda in the Middle East and North Africa

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Youth are becoming an increasing priority for countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Youth are an asset that if properly nurtured can stimulate the economic and social development of the region. Countries are searching for effective policies to capitalize on this youth asset and an increasing number of governmental and non-governmental institutions in the region are involved in youth related-work. This report represents an initial attempt to assess the case for making investment in youth a systematic development priority for the region. It summarizes what is known about the challenges facing youth and the opportunities successful youth embody, and begins to consider the contours of promising cross-sectoral, youth-centered, and inclusive policies for the region and the potential role for the World Bank. It is a first step in the process of setting out the issues to encourage dialogue and discussion among policy makers leading to decisions and eventually actions. The report has two intended audiences. The first are policy makers in the region, particularly those in Governments that are responsible for economic and social policy including Ministries of Finance, Planning and Economy and line ministries responsible for delivery of social services to youth such as the Health, Education, Social Affairs and Youth ministries. Second, donors and development organizations such as the World Bank can use the report as an input into thinking about how youth issues may fit into projects and to help formulate priorities toward youth in the future.


Bachir Souhlal, Elizabeth Radin, Gregorio Bettiza, Iqbal Kaur, John Blomquist, M. Yaa Oppong, Sophie Naudeau

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