Over 5 Million Jobs Lost In Mena Due To Economic Shocks In Last Three Years: World Bank

08 October 2023 International

More than five million have lost jobs due to the economic shocks across the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) in the last three years while the number of young people continues to grow in the region, according to a new report.

World Bank said in its latest regional report that between 2020 and 2022, global economic shocks hit the region’s employment levels particularly hard.

The unemployment rate among youth aged between 15 and 24 in Mena is the highest in the world, estimated at around 26 per cent in 2019. It has been persistently high for the past two decades. This segment of the population appears to have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic.

“Findings from the report suggest that this macroeconomic turmoil could have pushed an additional 5.1 million people out of work – beyond the already high unemployment rates before the pandemic. If Mena had the same unemployment response as other emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs), the shocks of 2020-22 would have resulted in 2.1 million fewer unemployed workers in Mena,” World Bank’s “Balancing Act: Jobs and Wages in the Middle East and North Africa When Crises Hit” report said.

“If the region grows slowly, how will the 300 million young people who will be knocking at the door of the labour market by 2050 find jobs with dignity? Without proper policy reforms, we could inadvertently worsen the enduring structural challenges faced by Mena’s labour markets as far as the eye can see. The time for reform is now,” said Ferid Belhaj, vice president for the Mena region at the World Bank.

Given the large youth population in Mena, the World Bank said employment losses among young people in the region are particularly worrisome, as they can result in long-lasting scarring effects on their working lives, impeding both individual prospects and overall economic development.

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