Middle East policy makers and the private sector have been urged to promote employment in the emerging digital economy sector in the Middle East region, according to a report presented during the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa 2015.
With 40 million under-unemployed youth and 27 million not in education, employment, or training, the Middle East and North Africa has the highest rate of youth unemployment in the world at 27.2%, according to the World Economic Forum, presenting a serious problem for a region where more than half the 369 million inhabitants are under 25.
Demonstrating the growing demand for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) jobs, the Middle East’s ICT industry value is set to reach $173 billion in 2015, more than double the value in 2010, and projected to create nearly 4.4 million jobs by 2020, according to research firm Strategy&.
However, enabling youth employment will require decision makers from government, the private sector, academia, and civil society to collaborate on adapting academic curricula to better integrate ICT learning, upskill students and workers with ICT and e-business skills, and create an environment that encourages entrepreneurship and small-business job creation, according to the report.
As Internet penetration has jumped 294% in the region between 2007 and 2012, technology has the potential to impact every aspect of labour markets, including better matching of jobs across all sectors, facilitating up-skilling, empowering entrepreneurs, and providing actionable data to decision-makers. The Millennial generation of people aged under 25 are digitally connected as never before, according to the report.
The report “Re-Dynamising the Job Machine: Technology-Driven Transformation of Labor Markets in MENA,” has been produced jointly by INSEAD Business School, the Centre for Economic Growth in Abu Dhabi, and SAP.