Back to Top


On June 1, the United Nations concluded a “High-Level Event on the Demographic Dividend and Youth Employment.” Held at the UN headquarters in New York, the event convened ministers and high-level government officials from over 50 countries involved in addressing the youth employment challenge in their respective countries.

The event was organized by the President of the United Nations General Assembly, the United Nations Population Fund, and the International Labour Organization. Qatar was represented by Ms. Maha Isa Al Rumaihi, Director of the Department of Planning and Quality Assurance at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ms. Amal Al Mannai, Executive President of Qatar Foundation for Social Work, as well as members of Qatar’s mission to the UN.

In recognition of its leading role in developing and supporting innovative programming aimed at creating economic opportunities for Arab youth, Silatech was invited by the International Labour Organization to participate in one of two expert panels organized as part of the event. The panel was titled “What Policies and Measures are needed to Create Opportunities for Youth Employment?” Silatech is a regional social initiative that works to create jobs and expand economic opportunities for young Arabs.

Over the past two decades, the Arab region has had the largest proportion of youth in its population of any region in the world. This demographic wave has placed pressure on both the education systems and the labor markets of Arab countries. Indeed, for over 20 years now, the Arab region has had the highest youth unemployment rates in the world by far, reaching close to 30 percent in 2015.

When asked what countries could do to improve the identification and promotion of youth employment solutions that work, Silatech Director of Research and Policy Dr. Nader Kabbani, who participated in the panel on behalf of Silatech, noted that “The youth employment challenge cannot be solved without creating jobs. In most countries, this means supporting the growth of micro- and small enterprises as the main engine of job creation.”

Drawing on Silatech’s experience, Dr. Kabbani identified a number of promising programs and interventions that have been successful in helping young people connect to economic opportunities, including school-based work experience and career guidance, increasing financial inclusion through online crowdfunding solutions, and supporting social entrepreneurship.

Participants in the event noted that successfully addressing the youth employment challenge requires the collaboration of the public sector, private sector, civil society in each country.  Only with each sector playing a role and working together can countries help young people reach their full potential.