MENARY Monitor – Edition 121
July 23, 2023
Politics and Political Engagement
Arab youth’s confidence in government is on the slide, with less than half (46 percent) saying their voice matters to leadership — a substantial decrease from 2022. Within the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, a massive 78 percent said they think their voice matters to the leadership of their country. However, in North Africa and the Levant that number dropped to 35 and 32 percent respectively. Moreover, a majority of youth in the Levant (71 percent) and North Africa (61 percent) say their regions are going in the wrong direction, and over two-thirds believe their governments do not have the right policies to address their most important concerns. The contrast between the regions is apparent even in views on corruption. While 52 percent in the GCC believe there is no corruption in their region, a mere 10 percent in the Levant and 12 percent in North Africa held the same view about their countries. Arab youth is not particularly optimistic about finding a new job either, with 50 percent of the youth in North Africa and 57 percent in the Levant believing it would be difficult to find employment.
According to Asda’a BCW’s most recent survey, 81% of Bahraini youth believe their government is addressing most of their pressing issues. The survey revealed that the youth in Bahrain cited unemployment, government corruption, high living costs, economic instability, and climate change as their major concerns. Additionally, around 61% of Bahraini youth expressed confidence in their government’s ability to address unemployment, while 20% believed that it is easy for young people to find jobs in their country. Further, 52% of respondents did not find job opportunities to be difficult or scarce while about two-thirds believed that the government could effectively address the rising cost of living. Over two-thirds of the respondents (77%) expressed confidence in the government’s ability to achieve economic stability, and more than three-quarters (77%) were confident that the government would take appropriate actions to address climate change.
Yemeni researcher and Secretary-General of the Saba Youth Council, Khalid Baqlan, asserted that the government is responsible for the service collapse in the south, aiming to undermine the Southern Transitional Council (STC). In a tweet, Baqlan stated that the return of Brigadier Eidros is essential, and his resumption of duties as Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council will put an end to the deliberate service collapse exploited by obstructive forces in a desperate attempt to turn people against their political representation. He confidently stated that the government’s crisis management has come to an end, closing a chapter for a failed prime minister and some of his ministers.
Economics and Entrepreneurship
The Arab world has a promising opportunity to promote youth entrepreneurship, with nearly half of young Arabs saying they plan to start their own business in the next five years. Youth unemployment in the region is one of the highest in the world at over 26% with nearly one in three youth (32%) aged 15 to 24 not engaged in employment, education or training, according to a World Bank report. When it comes to their preferred industry, 15% of the sample said they wanted to start a business in the tech sector, followed by e-commerce (13%), the creative industries (11%), manufacturing (11%), real estate (10%), the food business (9%), and retail, hospitality and education (7% each). One of the significant trends that the survey has documented over the years is the increasing preference of Arab youth for private sector jobs over a career in government. One in four (25%) young Arabs now say they want to work for themselves or their family, a slight decline since last year (28%), but a six-percentage point jump from 2019. Meanwhile, 11% said they preferred to work for a non-profit organization.
Asda’a BCW’s Survey revealed that Arab youth is not particularly optimistic about finding a new job either, with 50 percent of the youth in North Africa and 57 percent in the Levant believing it would be difficult to find employment. More than half of the participants said they were not confident in their government’s ability to deal with issues like unemployment, corruption, the rising cost of living, income equality, and economic stability.
Education For Employment, in partnership with the Ras Al Khaimah Human Resources Department, has completed a seventh successful work readiness training program for young Emirati talent, as part of Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress program. The newly graduated cadre of 31 young female Emiratis underwent two weeks of rigorous training designed to equip them with a robust set of essential professional skills needed to enter the competitive UAE job market. The program has been meticulously developed to guide youth through the early stages of career pathway development by focusing on delivering a set of professional and technical skills that are in high demand by employers.
The Business Development Center (BDC) conducted community sessions in Karak, Jordan, to discuss local economic opportunities that can be utilized for youth self-employment and entrepreneurship projects, aligning with the competitive advantage of the region. The primary aim of these sessions is to encourage youth of the governorate to establish small projects that address societal needs, thereby reducing high unemployment rates and creating job opportunities for youth. Attendees explored available opportunities and learned how to transform them into productive projects for the future.
Sheraa Entrepreneurship Center has launched the 2023 edition of the Startup Dojo, a youth incubation program that has been designed keeping young entrepreneurs in mind. The eight-week intensive training and mentorship program takes place every summer to enable young talent to develop their entrepreneurial solutions and gain real-world experience of starting and running their own businesses. This year, Startup Dojo has seen strong participation from Emirati youth who make up 81% of attendees at this prestigious program. Startup Dojo 2023 will benefit a 50-student cohort from various UAE universities who represent 16 diverse teams, each with a unique idea that has immense entrepreneurial potential.
With an expected budget of more than “$1.64bn” by 2026, Qatar “has the fastest growth” in cybersecurity spending in the Middle East, the Investment Promotion Agency Qatar has said in a report. The report also highlighted that hyper-connected Internet ecosystems and national expenditure on cyberinfrastructure will boost cybersecurity market growth in Qatar and the region. Four “promising trends,” such as ‘cross-sectoral digital transformation’, ‘a promising age of digital government services’, ‘cloud-first economy’, and ‘emerging technologies and growing youth’, are expected to shape Qatar’s cybersecurity market and drive the growth in 2030 and beyond, the report pointed out.
The Ministry of Youth and the Green Circle Software Company signed a joint cooperation agreement in the field of qualifying and training youth in the field of cybersecurity. According to the ministry’s statement, the agreement was signed by the Secretary-General, Dr. Hussein Al-Jabour, on behalf of the ministry, and on behalf of the company, the general manager, Engineer Muhammad Al-Khudari.
Israeli occupation forces, on Friday, killed a 17-year-old Palestinian during a demonstration against illegal Jewish settlements in the Occupied West Bank. The clash between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers broke out after the Israeli forces used force to disperse protesters. Every Friday, Palestinians hold protests in various areas of the Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem to denounce the internationally recognized illegal Jewish settlements.
The Israeli occupation forces launched raids and incursions in the occupied West Bank, which included confrontations in some areas and arrests of a number of young men, while settler gangs carried out attacks on Palestinians and their property. The institutions concerned with the affairs of prisoners reported that the occupation forces arrested a number of Palestinians, who were transferred for interrogation by the security services of the occupation, under the pretext of participating in popular resistance. In a brief statement, the Israeli occupation army spokesman announced the arrest of 5 Palestinians from the West Bank, who were transferred for interrogation by the security services. The occupation forces also stormed the town of Barqa, and clashes took place with the residents, amid heavy firing of tear gas canisters at the houses. Clashes erupted between dozens of young men and the occupation forces in Jalazoun camp, Ramallah district.
Palestine called for an international investigation into the “execution” of a young man, Friday night – Saturday, by Israeli army bullets, near the city of Nablus in the northern West Bank. This came in a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, hours after the young man was killed, another was injured, and another was arrested. The Foreign Ministry condemned “in the strongest terms the heinous crime of execution committed by the occupation forces in the town of Sebastia, which led to the death of the 18-year-old Fawzi Mokhalafa, and the injury and arrest of his colleague, Muhammad Mukhaimer,” on Friday evening.
The Israeli occupation forces arrested three young men from the Al-Abayyat area, east of Bethlehem.According to security sources, the occupation forces arrested Yazan Shadi Obayat (18 years), Ibrahim Awad Obayat (19 years), and Muhammad Mahmoud Obayat, after raiding and searching the homes of their families.
A report highlights that the Houthi militias committed 78 violations in Taiz Governorate over the span of June 2023. The documented cases included a civilian killed by a Houthi sniper, a child killed directly by the militia, injuries to seven others, including children and women, caused by the Houthi militia. Additionally, one woman was injured by a Houthi-laid landmine, and one civilian was brutally assaulted by the Houthi militia. The report also highlighted mass displacement caused by the Houthi militia’s heavy weapons and mortar shelling of villages in Ma’wiyah district, leading to significant damage and destruction of civilian properties and vehicles. The Houthi militia was also held accountable for planting mines and invading civilian homes, leading to more destruction and casualties.
The National Democratic Institute (NDI) launched a training workshop titled “Combating Hate Speech and Misinformation and Ensuring Personal Security,” held in Abyan Governorate in Yemen. The workshop is part of a program aimed at promoting the role of women and civil society in the political process and peacebuilding in Yemen. The four-day workshop convened 60 women, including activists, leaders, marginalized individuals, and PWDs. It looked to empower women in enhancing their personal security and developing safety plans for their personal, professional, and political lives. The program seeks to increase the involvement of Yemeni women in political leadership, peace processes, and political transitions at both the local and national levels. This workshop marks the first training activity by NDI in Abyan, with future activities and training sessions to be conducted in partnership with the Abyan Youth Foundation.
On the occasion of the World Youth Skills Day, King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) organized empowering activities for Syrian refugees at Jordan’s Zaatari Camp. The Saudi Community Service Center hosted skill-building activities to empower young refugees and distributed sewing machines and kits to women who had received sewing training through the center. The project is part of Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian aid and relief efforts through KSrelief, supporting various countries worldwide. The UN’s theme for this year’s World Youth Skills Day emphasizes the crucial role of teachers, trainers, and educators in providing skills to youth.
The Algerian Ministry of the Interior announced the death of 15 people and the injury of 26 others, as a result of fires that occurred in a number of states in the country, pointing to the evacuation of 1,500 citizens. According to the statement, 12 aircraft are still deployed in these six states, including Air Force firefighting helicopters and a “large-capacity firefighting aircraft.”