The Middle East's youth has been a major influence in political movements. As proven in the Arab Spring, young people can spark change through social media and organized protests — and that unrest often starts with economic problems.
In some cases, young workers' quality of life and access to employment can often be a good indicator of the country's success. And a report released last month shows Egypt's problems aren't behind them.
In the Youthonomics Global Index 2015, Egypt was ranked sixth-worst (59th overall), only beating Cote d'Ivoire, South Africa, Mali, Uganda and Brazil. While Egypt was ranked the best nation for "personal well-being," it scores low on most of the other categories.
The unemployment rate is a major blow: The country's total unemployment rate decreased to 12.7 percent in the second quarter this year, but the rate for youth remains at a stark 26.3 percent. More than half of youth are near or below povery levels.
When young people can't find jobs, that makes a big difference in income per capita and quality of life. Schools might factor into that, as Egypt ranks low in both early and university education.
Egypt follows the trend of developing economies ranking poorly for young people, along with Brazil and South Africa. A UK politician earlier this year called youth unemployment in developing countries a "ticking timebomb," likely leading to social and political unrest.
Of course, the rankings don't tell the whole story. It's likely Egypt isn't the worst country in the Middle East for youth.
The youth global index largely ignored countries in the Middle East; it measured 64 nations, only three of which were from the MENA region. Israel was ranked high at 15th, and Turkey was ranked right in the middle, 34th. The report said the rest of the countries had insufficient data to be included.
Download the full report here.
By Hayat Norimine
© 2000 - 2021 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)