INJAZ is a nonprofit organization that promotes youth education and training in the Arab world. It is the regional arm of Junior Achievement Worldwide (JAW). Focal areas of education include workforce readiness, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship. With a network of 14 ministries of education, over 3,000 schools, 418 universities, and 45,000 corporate volunteers, INJAZ aims to equip the youth with the skills demanded by the private sector to foster employability and job creation. Since 1999, 3 million students have completed INJAZ programs across the MENA region.
While the private sector has grown significantly over the last years, historically the public sector has remained dominant across the MENA region. Diversification is the key economic growth driver, and the private sector has a key role to play in supporting governments’ efforts towards this. Perhaps more important than its fiscal effects is that privatization has the potential to offer a number of economic and social benefits. With industries across all sectors of the economy evolving through institutional reforms and an increased focus on digital economies by regional governments, the survey shows that the youth are increasingly aware of the value of the private sector. They have clearly outlined the areas that need to be focused on as they enter the workforce in the current economic climate.Greg Rung, Partner
While the public sector dominates many MENA economies, a strong private sector is required to sustain non-hydrocarbon growth and to meet the labor market demands of a young and growing population. To portray opportunities and challenges faced by MENA’s private sector, Oliver Wyman was engaged to perform a survey with INJAZ trainees and alumni.
The survey consisted of 17 questions covering four key areas: respondents’ demographics; private sector growth drivers and industries; challenges and success factors of entrepreneurs and employees; and the digital economy and its implications for the education system. Some 949 participants aged between 16 and 35 responded to the survey.
The youth is currently facing challenges such as an overall shortage of job opportunities, uncompetitive salaries, and opportunities for career development. The collaboration with Oliver Wyman has produced strategic results for the consideration of all stakeholders involved in youth empowerment and allows in turn, for solution-based growth on major issues as the sector advances.Akef Aqrabawi, President & CEO
The INJAZ survey received positive opinions on the private sector and became a starting point for discussions about institutional and educational reforms to better harness opportunities of private sector growth industries and the digital economy. Additionally, it received broad media coverage with 22 appearances, including six in top-tier publications such as Forbes Middle East. Overall, the survey brought awareness for the broader topic of private sector development and sustainable labor market growth, putting it on the agenda of key stakeholders.
A strong private sector will be required to provide MENA’s young and growing population with the job market opportunities to sustain economic growth. Our survey has shown that this is well understood amongst MENA’s youth. In light of a shortage of private sector jobs and distorted labor market incentives, decision makers need to rethink public policies with the aim to improve the regulatory and business environment, adapt the current curriculum to new demands and attract investments in key sectors.Hendrik Wittrock, Senior Consultant