The COVID-19 epidemic also increases the Arabs’ desire for migration, says Survey.
Dubai: Nearly half of the 200 million young Arabs in the Mena region have considered leaving their homeland, “frustrated by the growing economy and widespread corruption in government”, suggests the ‘Athth Annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey’ released on Tuesday.
The study also revealed that the COVID-19 epidemic has also increased the desire of young Arabs to emigrate, with one-third of the region’s youth likely wanting to leave their country. Across the region, 42 percent of young Arabs considered emigration. The desire to leave is very high (63 percent) among young people in Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Yemen and the Palestinian Territories.
At present, young people in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) who are rich in oil are less likely to consider leaving (13 percent). The main causes of migration are economic reasons (24 percent) and corruption (16 percent), educational opportunities, new experiences and security and security also play a major role.
A separate UAE record
However, the UAE stands out as unique, with about half (46 percent) of all young Arabs choosing the Emirates as their favorite country, now in its ninth straight year. The UAE is also rising sharply (52 percent) when Arab youth across the region are asked which country their country should emulate. So far, 97 percent of Emiratis surveyed said they had never considered leaving the UAE for emigration.
The findings of Mena’s “largest independent study” for young people – developed by leading PR agency ASDA’A BCW by PSB, international research and analytics advice – reflect young Arab ideas on a variety of topics. These include anti-government protests that erupted in parts of the region last year, gender rights, personal ownership, employment, personal debt, foreign relations and the use of the media.
Who was asked?
The study surveyed 4,000 young Arab men aged 18 to 24 from 17 Arab provinces in the Middle East and North Africa with a 50:50 male gender division. The study was conducted in two phases, with the largest study being conducted in mid-January. 19 and March 3, before the COVID-19 epidemic affected the region; and the second COVID-19 Pulse Survey between August 18 and 26, conducted in six Arab countries.
“Our Arab Youth Survey findings highlight unique challenges – and opportunities – that need to be addressed to meet the aspirations of young people in the Arab world,” said Donna Imperato, Global CEO, BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe). “These ideas in the region – one of the most diverse in the world where under-30s make up two-thirds of the population – form the basis of communication advice we provide to our clients, including governments, civil society and the private sector. ”
A generation is in danger
Sunil John, President, Middle East, BCW and Founder of ASDA’A BCW, said: “As an independent study, the ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey has been presenting evidence-based views on the hopes and frustrations of young people in the Arab World. Given the aftermath of the street protests and the sharp drop in oil prices that have led to significant budget deficits, the study shows a link between poor governance and lack of opportunities. These findings support the need for many parts of the MENA region to focus on and maximize the benefits of their youth or risk losing the next generation of its brighter youth. ”
A wave of protests
In the aftermath of anti-government protests across the region over the past 12 months, the survey reveals that about 9 out of 10 Arabs in Algeria, Iraq, Sudan and Lebanon support the protests in their home countries. Most young people in the four countries hope that the protests will bring about positive change.
The COVID-19 epidemic seems to have added to the tensions, especially in Lebanon, with nearly three quarters of respondents to the COVID-19 Pulse Survey saying they believe the epidemic has sparked protests against the current political situation.
“The link between protests and corruption can also be considered as tackling corruption in government is considered one of the key to progress in the Arab world [36% of all respondents], before any other problem, including job creation [32%], and defeat of organizations of terrorism or the resolution of Arab and Israeli conflicts, ”adds John.
She is worried about jobs
With job creation identified as the second most important factor in regional development, almost nine out of 10 young people (87 percent) are concerned about unemployment, but only half (49 percent) say they hope their governments can cope with unemployment. Ongoing economic crises seem to be exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19, with 20 percent claiming that members of the family lost their jobs as a result of the epidemic, 30 percent reported high family debt, and 72 percent said the crisis had made it difficult to find work.
In the region with the highest youth unemployment rate in the world (more than 26 percent according to the International Labor Organization), a growing number of young Arabs are looking beyond government or private companies to provide jobs, instead preferring to work for themselves or their families (23 percent vs. -16 in 2019). Two out of five are also considering starting their own business in the next five years – with GCC youth showing a strong business spirit (55 percent).