x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

More youth-friendly policies needed in Middle East, experts say

The future looks bleak for the growth and development of the region unless governments adopt policies to help young people, says panel

DUBAI // The future looks bleak for the growth and development of the Middle East unless governments adopt more youth-friendly policies, according to a panel of experts. They were speaking on Monday at the launch of "Generation in Waiting; the Unfulfilled Promise of Young People in the Middle East", a collection of papers compiled by the Dubai School of Government and the Wolfensohn Center for Development at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

"This is the biggest generation in our region's history, both in this decade and next," said Dr Tarik Yousef, the dean of the school. "They are much more educated and have much higher aspirations but, relative to all of this, they have done poorly, and are unfulfilled in so many areas, including education, employment, housing and marriage." There are believed to be more than 100 million people aged between 15 and 29 in the Middle East.

Rami Khouri, the director of the Issam Fares Institute of Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut, said young people were best placed to shape policy for improvement. "The youth are important because they are the best barometer for all the problems facing society," he said. @Email:nsamaha@thenational.ae