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Give the youth a sense of purpose

Sep 26,2016 - Last updated at Sep 26,2016

Forty-three labour ministers from member countries of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) are meeting at the Dead Sea to discuss the pressing matter of unemployment among the youth in their countries. 

The international community, including those in the Mediterranean basin, is getting increasingly concerned about idleness among the youth, which is becoming the recipe not only of poverty, crime and drug abuse but also of radicalism and even terrorism.

Young people who find no employment opportunities, and thus no hope for the future, are easy prey of extremists and terrorists who offer some financial incentives and an environment in which they believe they have some worth.

Unemployment is a major problem for many countries of the region, and not only, especially among the youth who finish varying levels of schooling but often cannot find a job to support themselves or start a family of their own.

UfM is right to raise the issue of unemployment among the youth and warn governments and other stakeholders that unless they give high priority to the creation of job opportunities for young people, they will be pushing them to extreme behaviour and, worse, into the open arms of preying extremists.

The UN has long established a direct link between poverty and unemployment, especially among the young, and the rise in the rates of crime and terrorism.

Identifying the problem, however, does not necessarily solve it. Many countries agree that high unemployment, especially among the young, may lead to social and political unrest, at times of grave proportions, yet seem incapable of addressing the problem. 

Jordan is taking the issue seriously.

The prime minister took a series of field trips in all parts of the country to assess the situation and to give directives for projects that uplift the economic situation even in the most remote regions and, most importantly, generate jobs for people.

The momentum for job creation must be maintained even when the cost to national budgets is high.


The ministers meeting today and tomorrow might come up with a practical, and urgent, plan of action to address the pressing problem of unemployment. The alternative is dire.

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