A study by the Egyptian Center for Thought and Strategic Studies affirms that the 2024 Egyptian presidential elections witnessed “historic and substantial” citizen turnout at polling stations. The report highlights that youth demonstrated remarkable engagement, actively participating and showcasing a positive role in various aspects of the electoral process. Initiatives such as youth conferences, the World Youth Forum, and the National Academy for Training and Qualification played crucial roles in developing youth capabilities and interest in political participation, as the report suggests. On the societal engagement and civil development front, the state facilitated avenues for positive youth contributions to societal development by promoting civil work. The study also highlights political mechanisms that have enhanced youth participation, such as the “National Dialogue,” which saw substantial youth representation, reinforcing their presence in the political scene. National dialogue sessions included diverse political forces, providing a platform for youth to increase awareness and gain experience by participating in discussions on national issues and offering various perspectives.
Egypt’s youth receive praise for their “political maturity and commitment,” as the country witnesses what is believed to be its highest-ever voter turnout for a presidential election. Younger voters constituted a significant portion of the 65 percent participation rate, described as “unprecedented” by the National Elections Authority. The results, expected to favor incumbent President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi for a third term, will be announced soon. Parliamentary deputy Tarek El-Khouly attributes the high turnout to the youth’s eagerness and positive engagement, emphasizing their active roles in monitoring and participating in the historic race. The significant youth involvement is seen as a positive sign for Egypt’s future, reflecting years of efforts to integrate the younger generation into the political landscape.
Jordan’s Minister of Youth, Mohammed Al-Nabulsi, launched the activities of the “Youth Leadership Qualification” Program, organized by the Ministry in partnership with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Al-Nabulsi explained that the goal of this program is to qualify Arab youth for leadership and decision-making roles. He noted that the Ministry considered postponing the program due to the current regional circumstances. However, the ministry deemed it necessary to equip Arab youth with the knowledge of the situation and the ability to make appropriate decisions in the face of existing challenges. The program aims to exchange experiences between Jordanian and Gulf youth.
Economics and Entrepreneurship
The Shorbeen Center Presidency in Dakahlia Governorate, Egypt, in collaboration with the Youth Graduates Agency, held a seminar to promote the culture of freelancing. The seminar focused on encouraging youth to activate the role of freelancing, reduce unemployment, and provide job opportunities for young people in private companies through the Youth Graduates Agency at the center or the agency’s main office in Dakahlia Governorate.
The Minister of Youth in the Government of National Unity, Libya, Fathallah Al-Zeni, participated in the 8th ministerial meeting of the Steering Committee of the Youth Communication Organization, attended by 30 ministers from African countries, as part of the second day of the Sixth Africa Youth Summit held in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. The meeting discussed the 2030 strategic plan of the Youth Communication Organization, which operates in 32 African countries, aiming to connect the continent’s youth for economic and social transformation, empowering them by enhancing their knowledge, experiences, and investing in their ideas, innovations, and initiatives. Libya is participating for the first time in the African Youth Summit, the largest gathering of African youth, according to a statement released by the ministry.
The Palestinian Football Association has issued a report documenting violations committed by Israeli forces between October 7 and December 6 against Palestinian athletes, particularly football players, and sports figures including club presidents, administrators, and referees. According to the report, 85 individuals were killed, including 18 children and 37 young adults. Additionally, four players in Gaza were injured. Israeli airstrikes led to the destruction of nine sports facilities, four in the West Bank and five in Gaza. The report also noted the arbitrary arrest of three athletes in the West Bank, with an indeterminate number in Gaza due to the high number of missing individuals.
An international network has projected a rise in the number of people in need of food assistance in Yemen to 19 million by mid-next year, with an additional one million individuals slipping into the abyss of famine. The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), in its December 2023 analysis on expected food aid requirements in the countries it covers, stated that Yemen is expected to top the list of 31 nations, with the highest number of people in need of humanitarian food assistance by June 2024, followed by Ethiopia, Nigeria, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The analysis revealed that the Yemeni population in urgent need of immediate food aid will increase from around 18 million in December 2023 to 19 million in June 2024. The analysis noted that the temporary suspension of the World Food Programme (WFP) humanitarian aid program in Houthi-controlled areas, along with the continued economic deterioration in internationally recognized government-controlled regions, will exacerbate the acute food insecurity situation, reaching its highest level by June next year, classified as an emergency (Phase 4) for millions of people.
The Youth and Community Police course concluded at the Kafr Khall Youth Center in Jordan, organized by the Ministry of Youth, in collaboration with the General Security Directorate. The event was attended by 26 young men and women. Major Shahab, the Head of the Community Police Department, emphasized the role of community police in building society, highlighting the importance of collaboration between law enforcement and citizens. He stressed the need for cooperation to reduce various forms of crime, contribute to the discovery and prevention of crime, and emphasized the positive impact on society. The head of the youth directorate in Jarash called for the organization of more courses and workshops regularly in universities, schools, and civil society institutions for the significant benefits in awareness and education.
The Egyptian Minister of Environment, Dr. Yasmin Fouad, met with the Egyptian youth negotiators participating in the COP28 Climate Conference in Dubai. The meeting discussed Egypt’s pioneering youth-led delegation, a result of Egypt’s presidency of COP27, supporting youth involvement in climate discussions. The minister commended the selected young Egyptians, highlighting their role in presenting a positive image of informed Egyptian youth on global issues and innovative solutions. The youth delegation, EGYouth4Climate, works to enhance youth capabilities in climate action, providing training and representation opportunities.
On the COP28 theme day “Empowering Youth for a Green Future: Fostering Green Competencies and Collaboration,” World Vision UK sheds light on the challenging situation facing youth in the Middle East. According to its report “Growing up in the Climate Crisis,” children and young people in the Middle East experience more frequent “climate shocks” like sandstorms, heat waves, and water shortages. The region, including climatic hotspots like Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine, has been severely affected by the climate crisis, including water scarcity exacerbating chronic water shortages. The report, based on surveys of 1,095 children and young people in the region, reveals that climate change is increasing food insecurity and hindering access to water. Over 90% of children in Syria and Lebanon report receiving insufficient food, and 94% face difficulties accessing drinking water. Many young people expressed their desire to address climate change proactively, but there is a need for suitable platforms and opportunities for them to engage in collective action.
Addressing the increasing demand for skilled labor in the green energy sector amid the economic transition envisioned in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, Mohammad Abunayyan, founder and chairman of ACWA Power, emphasized the importance of equipping the youth with knowledge and talent. Speaking at the Global Labor Market Conference in Riyadh, Abunayyan stressed the need for a robust foundation to navigate the shift to the new economy, rendering the old industry and economy less relevant. He encouraged the incorporation of technical institutes in major projects like NEOM, The Red Sea Project, and Qiddiyah to prepare young talent for the evolving landscape. Abunayyan highlighted the overwhelming response to ACWA Power’s technical institute, receiving over 150,000 applications for just 500 seats, underscoring the strong willingness of the nation’s youth to contribute to the energy transition.
In a showcase of innovation and environmental commitment, the Arab Youth Hackathon, led by PepsiCo and the Arab Youth Center, concluded its inaugural edition at COP28 in Dubai. Among the winners, Green Taqa from Lebanon claimed first place with their inventive waste-to-energy solution, while Cropsense from Saudi Arabia secured the runner-up position with an AI-generated system for farmers. Luxeed Robotics from Lebanon secured third place with their advanced technology for organic farming. The three winning teams will receive equity-free seed funds from the PepsiCo Foundation, totaling $30,000, $20,000, and $10,000 for the winner, runner-up, and second runner-up, respectively. Additionally, they will partake in a one-month incubation program to further develop and scale their impactful ideas.
Under the patronage of Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Executive Council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the “Youth for Sustainability” platform hosted the “Youth for Sustainability” Forum, a prominent Emirati initiative focusing on empowering youth in the field of sustainability. The forum, held during the Youth, Children, Education, and Skills Day, as part of the COP28 conference, featured a program filled with activities and discussions that emphasized empowering youth and activating their role in climate action. The forum opened with a youth discussion session urging young people to focus on three key factors affecting energy supplies: the environment, cost, and supply security. The forum highlighted the importance of youth participation in addressing the climate change crisis and featured elite speakers, experts, and sector leaders, focusing on empowering the next generation to become leaders of sustainability in the future. The extensive discussion sessions during the forum covered various topics, including the role of the “Youth for Sustainability” platform in promoting climate action, the impact of startups, and the role of youth as supporters of climate policies.
The Egyptian National Planning Institute held its second seminar for young researchers for the academic year 2023-2024, titled “The Future of Water in Egypt: Water Security Policies Beyond the Renaissance Dam.” The seminar addressed challenges of water scarcity in Egypt, historical adaptation in water resource management, and future challenges post-Renaissance Dam. The session, attended by academics, researchers, and Ministry of Environment representatives, highlighted the challenges of water scarcity, population growth, agricultural expansion, and climate change, emphasizing the policy measures to secure Egypt’s water needs effectively and sustainably, especially after the construction of the Renaissance Dam.