Arab Youth Survey: Young entrepreneurs should be given easy access to capital, says expert
Many no longer want a steady government job like their parents had. Instead, they want to do what they are passionate about.
The Arab youth are optimistic about the future but they need all the support that they can get to succeed, experts have said.
Speaking during a panel discussion at the launch of the 13th annual Asda’a BCW Arab Youth Survey on Tuesday, the experts from the Middle East said ‘financial inclusion’ must be among the priorities to help young Arabs become successful entrepreneurs.
“A rising spirit of nationalism is gaining resonance for Arab youth. This generation is increasingly looking inward at their Arab brethren for leadership. Growing self-reliance on ourselves, especially model Arab nations like the UAE, is fuelling this pride,” said Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE’s Ambassador to the US and Minister of State.
Jihad Azour, director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the Middle East and Central Asia Department, said decision-makers must closely examine the impact of survey’s the findings on government policy.
“To achieve the aspirations of Arab youth, we must increase financial inclusion, providing our young Arab entrepreneurs ready access to affordable finance. They must have a level playing field, where red tape and the interference of the state in economic management is kept to a minimum. And we need a new, citizen-based social contract,” he said.
He called for investing in the youth — which makes up a large chunk of the region’s population — by improving education and introducing capacity development programmes.
“We need to open markets through financial inclusion, so that the young can have access to capital. This should be an important priority for all governments… The Covid-19 crisis showed the weakness that we have in the social system.
“Digitisation played a critical role during the pandemic and can be the saviour for jobs as well. There is a need to build trust between states and citizens so that people invest and stay in the region,” added IMF’s regional head.
Dania Khaled Al Maeena, CEO of Aloula, a non-profit organisation in Jeddah, said the Arab youth’s hope for the future is ‘extremely refreshing’.
“The youth are now more creative. Many no longer want a steady government job like their parents had. Instead, they want to do what they are passionate about. But we can’t take the optimism of our young people for granted. We must bridge the gap between the education sector and the needs of the workplace. This will involve creating new skill sets to ensure our youth are prepared for the new economy,” she added.
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