In recent weeks, we have dealt with the urgent situation that young people are experiencing in the MENA -Middle East and North Africa- region. A situation that is forcing young people to make the wrong decisions, as seen in the articles we have published. One dealt with fundamentalism and the scarcity of opportunities and the other with the lethargy of young people in Arab countries. Youth unemployment leads to a whole series of problems that need to be addressed to ensure the prosperity of the region. With this in mind, Silatech launched a regional initiative in Amman (Jordan) from April 28th to 30th entitled: ‘Arab Youth Employment: Promoting innovative solutions to long-standing challenges’. The conference was supported by the IYF – International Youth Foundation-.

In 2011, young people in the entire MENA region reacted to decades of social, political and economic exclusion by taking to the streets and demonstrating. Four years on and we can see a slight change in their lives for the better. However, we must not forget that youth unemployment in the said region presents the highest rates when compared to the rest of the world. Furthermore, since 2009, it has increased to an alarming 29%, coinciding with a decline in the entrepreneurial spirit. The solution requires finding synergies between governments, the private sector and NGOs through innovative measures.

The conference focussed on developing successful youth employment policies and initiatives, on creating opportunities for professionals that can be replicated and creating effective programmes throughout the region.  The conference addressed possible alternatives regarding the following issues:

1. Innovations in financing young companies
2. The involvement of the private sector in youth employment
3. The importance of monitoring and assessing programmes.
4. Achieving and recovering employment initiatives through technology.
5. Associations in formulating policies
6. Implementation of entrepreneurial and alliance-making ecosystems.
7. Sector-based solutions driven by the private sector to extend initiatives.