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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.


Twenty-five Egyptian social entrepreneurs concluded a five-day social entrepreneurship boot camp in Cairo on Thursday, May 7. Organized and conducted by Entrepreneurship with Impact Ventures (EWIV), a subsidiary of Ahead of the Curve founded in partnership with regional social initiative Silatech, the Cairo boot camp is the first in a series of five fully immersive training sessions to take place over the coming months in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon. The local host for the Cairo training was UNDP Egypt.

The series of five boot camps is designed to create a regional network of social entrepreneurs who are inspired, empowered and equipped to build sustainable social businesses. Participants gain market and industry knowledge, design tools, an understanding of how to go to market, and access to other social entrepreneurs as well as leading experts and investors.

While traditional entrepreneurs usually measure success in terms of profit and return, “social entrepreneurs” apply an entrepreneurial approach to solving social problems. Most “social enterprises” pursue a specific mission to benefit society, while ensuring their sustainability by generating revenue through products and services.

Alia Said, Learner’s Program Manager at Tahrir Academy says: “I truly wish I’d had access to a boot camp like this three years back, it would’ve saved me from lots of the confusion I went through trying to run our start up. What I’ve gained here has given me a clear roadmap on how to sustain and scale our social enterprise. This is the first time I attend such a unique boot camp that combines knowledge, inspiration, and experiential learning all in one.”

Entrepreneurship with Impact Ventures

Entrepreneurship with Impact Ventures is a social initiative that supports the creation and growth of social and inclusive business models across the Middle East and other growth markets. Founding members Silatech and Ahead of the Curve launched EWI in June 2014 to provide financial and technical support to existing and idea stage social enterprises, as well as large businesses that are willing to connect low-income and underserved communities in rural and semi-urban areas (”base of the pyramid”) to the core business of large national and multinational corporations, thereby creating jobs.

The first impact investment venture of its kind in the MENA region, EWIV provides training and incubation services as well as equity investment opportunities for the most promising businesses.

EWIV has already invested in two Egypt-based social businesses: Tawseela is an innovative bus service that addresses the adverse impacts of Cairo’s traffic congestion. Tatweer is revamping the traditional Egyptian kiosk with a new concept design that optimizes the retail, advertising and communal aspects of this ubiquitous street landmark. Additional investments are being explored in Lebanon, Jordan and Morocco.

In addition, EWIV includes a physical a One-Stop-Shop for inclusive businesses based in Cairo which provides advice and capacity building services to large businesses looking to develop inclusive business approaches. This facility is operated with support from the German GIZ.

“We, at Silatech, are proud to be part of this unique and much needed initiative that can create value in so many ways”, said Justin Sykes, Director of Enterprise Development at Silatech.  “In the battle against young unemployment in the region, innovative solutions are sorely needed.  We at Silatech strongly believe that social entrepreneurship can create thousands of sustainable jobs and also transform people’s lives, their communities, and the region at large.”

Dina Sherif, Co-founder and CEO of Ahead of the Curve, said: “The Impact’s Cairo boot camp is the first of a regional English and Arabic series that empowers leaders with the tools needed to achieve sustainable impact through profitable business models. The program takes you through a process of validating an idea, to developing and scaling a business model. We at Ahead of the Curve and Entrepreneurship with Impact Ventures, believe that social enterprises can be not only a pathway to systemic social change, but also to the sustainable creation of jobs needed for our region’s youth.”


Originally compiled in English by the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Arab World, the Arabic version of this report has been produced by Silatech. The report is a collection of essays published to provide a direct response to the Arab world’s uniquely high level of youth unemployment.



Prepared just prior to the Arab Spring, this report anticipates the demands for social and economic inclusion articulated by Moroccan young people especially following February 2011.



In this opinion piece, the authors argue for innovative uses of technology and new forms of social giving to catalyze the MENA region’s philanthropic potential.



This joint report—published by Silatech, the Middle East Youth Initiative, the Wolfensohn Center for Development, and the Dubai School of Government—lays a foundation for a better understanding of the importance of social entrepreneurship in the Middle East.