International Conference on Youth Employment in the Mediterranean Region

This major international conference was organized by the Foundation Education for Employment (EFE) on 25-26 April 2012 in Madrid, Spain. Participants including the Spanish Ministry of Labour and the Spanish Agency of Cooperation and Development (AECID), the Casa Arabe-IEAM and the ILO - represented by Charles DAN, Regional Director for Africa - discussed ways and means to address one of the most important political and socio-economic challenges in the area: how do we create employment opportunities for youth in the Mediterranean region?

Youth unemployment in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) is higher than in any other region, being the most affected young people between 15 and 24 years old (over 50% of the unemployed in the region).

A year after the "Arab Spring", the lack of opportunities for young people still represents an insurmountable obstacle to the development of the region.

The organization of the First Conference on Creation of Employment for Youth in the Mediterranean Region is meant to raise awareness about the employment challenges faced by youth in the MENA region and propose formulas to answer the following questions:

  • The problems met by youth with merit and motivation but little chance to secure a good education and a job.
  • The mismatch between the educational system and the labor market.
  • The opportunity for educational institutions and Spanish companies which are investing in the region to contribute to expand the available pool of qualified youth.

The conference also offered an opportunity to highlight the ILO Youth Project for the Maghreb countries funded by Spain.