Redefining and Tackling (youth) Unemployment in the Arab Mediterranean Context

Redefining and Tackling (youth) Unemployment in the Arab Mediterranean Context

Publication date:
Asuman Göksel, Özgehan Şenyuva and Sümercan Bozkurt Güngen

SAHWA Policy Paper nº. 5

ISSN  2564-9167 

Youth unemployment is a severe problem in the Arab Mediterranean countries (AMCs), which leads to a diversity of social, political and economic problems. The policy measures and programmes employed by the national and international authorities in the region rely heavily on Active Labour Market Policies (ALMPs), which have a supply-side focus. Their main components are enhancing the employability of young people, ensuring flexibility and adaptability, and job creation through entrepreneurship. These policies are marked by an emphasis on the unemployed as the crux of the problem and as the bearer of responsibility for its alleviation. As a result, youth unemployment begins to be perceived as a “problem of the youth”, shifting the focus from the system to the individual. This policy paper argues that the ALMPs implemented in the AMCs have been inefficient and ineffective in eliminating the unemployment problem, as proven by the needs, realities, experiences and demands of young people in these countries. The authors also provide a set of policy recommendations for policymakers, taking into account the realities of labour markets and the voices of young people, who do not prioritise being “employable”, but rather “employed”.