Youth Employment  through entrepreneurship development in the Arab Region: state of the art interventions in Egypt and Tunisia

CAD expert is conducting a study in the Arab Region for UNIDO exploring human factors, intervention possibilities and the best practices for youth entrepreneurship in Tunisia and Egypt.

The young Arab people who lead the Arab Spring in North Africa are the most affected by the regions higher than 30% youth unemployment rate, a marring characteristic that will continue to weigh heavily on regional labour markets for years to come. Unquestionably, the main challenge for these countries today is the ability to create enough jobs to absorb new qualified and unqualified youth while eliminating the “stock” of existing unemployed youth, featuring a large number of highly educated graduate women.

For many players in the region, the temptation is high to regard entrepreneurship as the silver bullet to tackle unemployment sustainedly in the future. Nevertheless, entrepreneurship is a complex concept, scarcely understood in all aspects with its wide range of implications and dimensions. Promoting it can certainly bring solutions, but can sometimes be counterproductive and even dangerous for the youngest, least prepared and improvised entrepreneurs when programmes are inadequate.

Philippe Jochaud, CAD coordinator of the Tunisia office and responsible for the MENA region, is coordinating a study for the UNIDO Tunisia Office, in cooperation with UNIDO headquarters and the UNIDO Cairo Office. This study and collaborative effort is intended to provide direct contribution to enterprise creation and development in Egypt and Tunisia, two countries particularly affected by both demographic and political challenges. By inventorying state-of-art technical cooperative interventions on job creation for the young through entrepreneurship, the paper will provide a deeper understanding of the different dimensions of entrepreneurship promotion, identify good practices in project design and evaluation, and recognize viable options to mainstream strategies within national policies.