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Silatech High-Level Event in Geneva stresses the importance of Empowering Youth

DOHA, 6 March, 2019

Describing the role of Silatech foundation in providing more than 1,100,000 jobs as pioneering work, the participants at Silatech high-level event in Geneva urged the international community to do more to address unemployment. They also stressed the importance of investing in youth development to contribute to the promotion of economy and peace for the security of the whole world, and to implement the international strategy against terrorism, especially as young people are the foundation of the renaissance of nations.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi stressed the importance of listening to the voice of young people, adding that they have always been followers and now they should be leaders, stressing the importance of investment to employ young refugees in host countries, describing the achievement of Silatech and its success in providing more than one mn jobs for young people as a leading role.

For her part, United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth Jayathma Wickramanayake said that poverty leads to social exclusion and marginalisation, noting that 64mn young people are unemployed while 70mn workers still live in extreme poverty.

Catalist & Chief founder of Jokkolabs Mr. Karim Sy said that it’s a must to adopt creative solutions to empower youth specially in Africa, the richest continent of youth.

“How do you deal with a doubling population every 20 years? We need innovation, we need to do things totally differently, technology allows that, it is incredibly powerful. The technology is bringing us the opportunity to work together. We can bring new solutions, we can think different, for farming, for energy, for education. We can invent a new path”, added Mr. Sy.

Ambassador for Silatech, Chaker Khazaal, said that young people need to build bridges of communication rather than walls.
As a former refugee, he has learned that he must cling to hope, adding that the world is dark, but hope must be upheld because it is the only way to the life of any refugee and thanks to organisations like Silatech, there must be the belief that tomorrow will be better.

Speaker Chris Gardner, Author of In the Pursuit of Happyness called for action to tackle unemployment.
He also thanked Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Silatech’s Board of Trustees and Advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals, for her efforts in order to enable the youth and provide them with job opportunities through Silatech.

He added that Silatech’s work on empowering and improving the lives of young people is more important than ever, especially in a world that grows darker and more frightening every day.

The participants, including politicians and officials of the United Nations, the European Union and prominent international organisations, agreed that the provision of employment opportunities for young people is a key to economic development and real investment in any country.
Prime Minister of Somalia Hassan Ali Khayre said 70% of Somalia’s population is young and every job opportunity is an investment in the country’s future.
He added that the youth in the population in his country can be a positive or negative factor. If provided with the skills of entrepreneurship they would be the backbone of economic growth but ignoring them and not providing them with employment opportunities will make them a cause of instability and conflict.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and former president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, said youth are partners in change and benefit from it, and their voices must be heard.

She highlighted the importance of youth’s role, their empowerment, investing in them and interacting with them.

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Silatech and UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocate, had announced on Monday that youth will receive 3mn employment opportunities globally by 2022, calling for more partners to help raise that number to 5mn.

Silatech is an international, social, non-profit, non-governmental organisation based in Qatar established by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser in 2008 which aims to combat unemployment, extremism, and marginalisation of young people and women through employment and economic empowerment initiatives.
Silatech is empowering young people to lead change and improve their lives and communities for the better.

Policies To Support Entrepreneurship In Morocco
Practices And Learnings

This study has been initiated and finance by Silatech and implemented by researchers from Hassan II University- Casablanca. The study provides analysis and recommendations to help policy deciders to build foundation and conditions in order to lead the path to entrepreneurs to start their projects. This will of course clarify the different practices and forecast the constraints that may affect the feasibility of the whole program.



Silatech has launched its Annual Report for 2016 – 2017 which provides an overview of its innovative programs and initiatives; highlighting local, regional, and international strategic partnerships. Furthermore, the report presents achievements and agreements for Arab Youth in operational countries.



This national report discusses the key aspects of entrepreneurship dynamics in Morocco based on the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Survey conducted in 2015.



Under the patronage of the Ambassador of the Netherlands to Qatar, Silatech, a regional social organization that works on connecting Arab youth to jobs and expand economic opportunities, along with SPARK, an NGO that develops higher education and entrepreneurship so that young ambitious people are empowered to lead their post-conflict societies into prosperity, organized an Expert Meeting titled Entrepreneurship for Stability in the MENA Region.

The expert meeting, which took place at the residence of the Dutch Ambassador in Doha, witnessed participation of delegates from International Development Communities, NGOs, Private and Public Sector including academics and think tanks.

Commenting on the event, Her Excellency Yvette Burghgraef-van Eechoud, Dutch Ambassador to Qatar said: ‘I was honored to host in my residence a group of extraordinary people from the Middle-East and Africa to design economic opportunities for refugees and internally displaced persons. The group showed a very high level of commitment, expertise and trust. These are the basic ingredients for finding the right solutions for both refugees and the communities that are hosting them.’ H.E added: ‘The Netherlands proudly supports this partnership between Silatech and SPARK in their endeavor to provide some perspective and dignity to the many victims of humanitarian catastrophe in countries like Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya.’

The Expert Meeting addressed many topics regarding the current situation of refugees such as: innovative programs and policies can be introduced to enable refugees to carry out business activities whilst at the same time, not negatively impacting the host country economy; Employment and entrepreneurship programs and policies are the most appropriate and successful contributors to livelihood improvements in conflict-affected areas  and what can be done to ensure or create an enabling environment where some economic development and livelihood generating activities can take place in conflict-affected areas.

Mr Mohammed Al-Naimi, CEO of Silatech said: ‘Our vision is to have an Arab world in which young people are able to work and are engaged in the economic development of their societies came as a response to the challenge of unemployment in the region and led to the establishment of Silatech to connect Arab youth to economic opportunities and jobs through enterprise and employment and today this mission is even more required and needed…. as we all know, the region is experiencing unprecedented instability with ongoing conflicts and political upheaval affecting multiple countries for the past 5 Years.’ He added: ‘We hope this meeting is another step in a journey towards unlocking effective partnerships, programmatic interventions and policy recommendations that contribute to providing sustainable solutions to the complex issue at hand.’

Michel Richter, Co-Director of SPARK, also present at the event, comments: ‘Our programs for Syrian Refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan funded by the Dutch Government and Education Above All Foundation are an important step, but more needs to be done in terms of business development and job creation for this group.’ In doing so he emphasized the need to capitalize on the brain power and experience mobilized at the Expert Meeting. Richter stressed ‘there remains much to learn and gain in terms of what works and what does not work and urges for the development of concrete and practical initiatives that can be rapidly deployed. This requires the involvement of organizations present at the meeting such as the UNHCR, ILO, Qatar Red Crescent, International Medical Corps, Silatech and SPARK as well as relevant private sector and government actors.’

The attendees shared best practices from various types of employment and entrepreneurship initiatives that played a vital role in improving livelihoods which contributed to fostering social stability for refugees and others. One of the potential initiatives that had been explored in depth was the establishment of free economic zones that would facilitate Syrian investors and entrepreneurs to continue and start their businesses creating employment and business linkages involving both Syrian refugees and host communities.


The Oman Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Map is designed as a tool for entrepreneurs, support organizations and policymakers involved in Oman’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. It presents the relationship between various organizations and entities involved in finance, education, government, media, the private sector, donor institutions and entrepreneurship support organizations.



Oman’s Public Authority for the Development of Small and Medium Enterprises (Riyada) recently organized a three-day “Build Your Business” master training program in cooperation with Silatech.

This training marks the first step in a larger partnership between Riyada and Silatech, including collaboration on Riyada’s Entrepreneurship Award, research to track the progress and obstacles faced by entrepreneurs in establishing or expanding their business, as well as programs to encourage and empower social entrepreneurs.

Silatech Acting CEO Mohammed Al Naimi welcomed the collaboration with Riyada, saying “Silatech will be significantly increasing our engagement in Oman, and we look forward to working with dynamic and forward-thinking organizations like Riyada to help unlock the full potential of Omani youth.”

For his part, Riyada CEO Khalifa bin Said Al Abri said “The Build Your Business program is the first step in cooperation with our Qatari partner Silatech. The blended approach of the program, which combines classroom instruction and e-learning, will help to train and empower Omani business pioneers.”

The program took place in Muscat during September 15-17, and was conducted as a “Training of Trainers” to enhance the capacity of Oman-based facilitators to deliver the Build Your Business (BYB) program directly to young Omani entrepreneurs. Build Your Business includes 14 thematic units taught over 30 hours of instruction; it uses a unique blended learning approach in which skills are introduced online, and then reinforced with in-person classroom instruction. The instruction is also coupled with practical, hands-on activities conducted in the community.

The workshop aimed to strengthen the capacity for the Sultanate of Oman to provide Build Your Business training directly to the owners of small and medium enterprises and help them in learning how to establish and strengthen their businesses.

Build Your Business (BYB) is a comprehensive, interactive training course designed to support aspiring young entrepreneurs by introducing them to the basic principles needed to successfully launch, lead and scale up very small businesses, or “microenterprises.” Originally developed by the International Youth Foundation and Microsoft, BYB has been used by more than 300 organizations in 20 countries.

Based in Doha, Silatech is a regional social initiative which works with over 100 partners in 15 countries throughout the Arab world to help young Arabs find jobs and start businesses. Since being founded in 2008, Silatech has financed and supported over 90,000 youth-owned businesses, and created or sustained over 140,000 jobs. The partnership with Riyada marks Silatech’s first program activity in Oman.


The Palestine entrepreneurship ecosystem map is designed as a tool for entrepreneurs, support organizations and policymakers involved in Palestine’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.



An in-depth analysis by Palestine for a New Beginning (PNB) and regional social initiative Silatech has produced an interactive map designed to help enable more effective interaction between entrepreneurs, support organizations and policy makers. Now available at, Silatech web site, and on, the ecosystem map presents the relationship between over 100 various entrepreneurship-related organizations and entities involved in finance, education, government, media, the private sector, donor institutions and civil society.

The interactive map provides a short description of each organization and link to its website, as well as information about where each organization operates and, where appropriate, which economic sector(s) it targets.

Palestine suffers from the highest unemployment rate in the Mashreq region, at 23 percent. Palestine’s youth unemployment rate tops 38 percent, higher than the Arab world’s average of 30 percent. The Arab world has the highest youth unemployment of any region in the world.

PNB Chairman Zahi Khouri commented on the need for the ecosystem map, saying “When PNB decided to begin working in entrepreneurship, we discovered a very busy space, yet still very few successes. We decided to work on this map in order for us to better understand the ecosystem, learn and decide where we could play a strong role (as representatives of the private sector and civil society).”

Describing PNB’s role in promoting entrepreneurship in Palestine, Khouri said “We have focused our efforts on showcasing Palestine’s successes through the Celebration of Innovation, and on bringing the different players together through Global Entrepreneurship Week. Members of our board also launched the Ibtikar Fund, which closes a critical funding gap between seed and VC investment. We hope that this map helps organizations developing new support programs understand where gaps remain.”

Rula Shunnar, Silatech Country Representative for Palestine and Jordan, emphasized that “A lack of clear and accurate information often hampers entrepreneurs from getting the support they need; we believe this map will provide a useful tool to help strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem, and look forward to working with our partners at PNB to continue supporting the Palestinian people, and especially Palestinian youth, in the future.”

Holding that helping new businesses to start and grow is essential for creating desperately needed jobs, Silatech works with over 100 partners throughout the Arab world to provide entrepreneurship and employment opportunities for young people. Since 2008, Silatech has enabled more than 90,000 youth-run businesses to start and grow, supporting more than 140,000 youth jobs.

In Palestine, Silatech partners with a variety of organizations to support Palestinian youth in areas such as access to microfinance, employability resources and job openings through, career guidance, civic engagement and leadership training.

Palestine for a New Beginning is an alliance of public and private sector institutions and individuals that aims to leverage resources and experience by investing in innovative new projects and building on existing successful initiatives.


CARE International in Jordan and Silatech have released an assessment outlining the opportunities available to youth in Azraq Refugee Camp to improve their livelihoods, as well as the types of skills they possess that could help them to do so. Conducted during May-June 2015, the “Baseline Assessment of Skills and Market Opportunities for Youth in Azraq Refugee Camp” is based on more than 200 individual and household interviews, and focus group discussions with more than 100 participants in Jordan’s Azraq Camp.

The assessment found that demand for work among Azraq Camp residents is very high, and recommended specific steps to address the demand.

Azraq Camp currently hosts over 19,000 Syrian refugees, over half of whom are children below the age of 18, while around 45% are of working age (18-59 years). The assessment found that there is great need for work in the Camp. Many are skilled, or could develop skills, and are hungry to build a better life for themselves.  Moreover, residents of Azraq Camp need money to cover their most urgent needs, as they rely heavily on a monthly cash allowance of only 20 JOD per person. This very small amount is provided for purchasing food through the World Food Program (WFP) food distribution point at Sameh Mall, which is the only place in the camp that sells any kind of goods.

The assessment finds that Camp inhabitants possess a variety of potentially useful skills, including trading, farming, carpentry, food production, teaching and hairdressing, and recommends finding opportunities for refugees to use the skills that they have. One recommendation in this regard is to open a marketplace in Azraq Camp. Currently, the only place in Azraq Camp that sells any kind of goods is Sameh Mall. The opening of a market would provide Camp population with numerous opportunities for income, as well as improve their quality of life simply by making more products and services readily available.

Fairuz Taqi-Eddin, Silatech’s Director of Country Operations, says “Markets bring life and livelihood opportunities to any setting. The much-anticipated market in Azraq camp will support the creation of enterprises. Silatech’s work in the enterprise space has proven to us the positive change that enterprises can bring to the economic status of individuals and families, while creating job opportunities for others.”

Silatech is a regional social initiative which works to improve employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for young people throughout the Arab world.

The study also includes an in-depth review of the Azraq Camp livelihood program, known as the Incentive-based Volunteering (IBV) scheme. The IBV scheme is the only mechanism in Azraq Camp to register job-seekers, facilitate recruitment and track the status of their placement in IBV opportunities.

“This livelihoods program is a major step in creating opportunities where refugees can offer their skills or develop new ones. Meanwhile, NGOs benefit from the experience of Syrian refugees. The IBV scheme has injected more than USD 1 million into the camp economy,” says Salam Kanaan, CARE Jordan Country Director.

The success of this livelihood effort has relied upon coordination between Jordan’s Syria Refugees Affairs Directorate (SRAD), UNHCR, CARE and other NGOs, organizing placement, rotation, and reporting. “The impact has been significant for those who participate, but the volunteer opportunities fall short of absorbing the supply of Syrians willing and able to contribute,” Kanaan says.

The report also found that women face several obstacles to participating in the local economy, including household duties, child care, and proximity to work places.

“Opportunities to work in the home, or closer to home would make it easier for a woman to contribute financially, build her skills, and ensure a better future for her family,” adds Kanaan.