Promoting youth inclusion and empowerment


 Regional Report: Youth in the MENA Region - How to bring them in 

Youth in the MENA region are facing various challenges, such as high youth unemployment, low levels of trust in government and restricted access to quality public services (e.g. education, health). Moreover, following the serious deterioration of the security situation in the region, young men and women have been forced to flee their home, placing a whole generation of displaced youth at an even greater risk of exclusion. For young men and women to become a driving force and beneficiary of inclusive growth, good public governance is crucial.

This report identifies two key challenges for the inclusion and empowerment of MENA youth in political, social and economic life. 

  1. Young men and women are not sufficently involved in the policy cycle
  2. Youth policy in the MENA region suffers from the lack of a whole-of-government approach and is poorly mainstreamed across key public governance areas (e.g. employment, education, health, family, women, culture, and sports) 

This report outlines a pathway for governments to foster a more strategic approach to pro-youth policy outcomes and quality services. Taking into consideration the existing governance framework in MENA countries, this report suggests applying a “youth lens” to open government tools and traditional forms of policy making in order to promote the participation of young men and women in decision-making process and mainstream their needs and expectations in key policy areas.



 Youth in MENA Region - How to bring them in


World Government Summit 2016

In the framework of the 4th World Government Summit on 8-10 February 2016 in Dubai, the OECD Secretary General, Mr. Angel Gurría, presented the report “Youth in the MENA region – How to bring them in”.

In his keynote speech, the OECD SG referred to the absence of a framework for inclusive growth in the MENA region which has resulted in rising unemployment rates and diminishing trust of youth in their government when compared to their parents generation:

"We cannot stress enough the importance that young people's voices are not left out of the policy debates which will shape their future." Angel Gurría

The Government Summit was preceded by the annual meeting of the Working Group on Open and Innovative Government of the MENA-OECD Governance Programme.

The delegates endorsed the report and called upon the OECD to provide in-depth analysis and policy advice to enhance youth participation in public life.
They highlighted the importance of governments to engage in a systematic dialogue with young men and women and stressed that effective youth engagement at the local level can be a starting point to integrate their views and ideas and foster socio-economic development.


 OECD Secretary General, Angel Gurría, presenting the report “Youth in the MENA region – How to bring them in” in the World Government Summit on 8 February 2016 in Dubai.
OECD Secretary General, Angel Gurría, presenting the report “Youth in the MENA region – How to bring them in” at the World Government Summit on 8 February 2016 in Dubai.



The OECD Idea Factory “Inclusive Policies for Young Men and Women” on 4 February 2015 in Paris brought together more than 50 participants from various backgrounds, including students and young entrepreneurs from the region. The event allowed participants to discuss in a highly interactive setting how governments in the MENA region can help to further inclusive policies responding to the expectations and needs of young men and women in the region.

Focusing on the two pillars of the MENA-OECD Initiative, participants presented their ideas on:

  1. How to rebuild trust: including young men and women in policy-making and public service delivery
  2. How to unlock the potential of the private sector to create jobs for young men and women

The outcomes of the Idea Factory fed into the MENA-OECD Initiative Steering Group meeting on 5th February that discussed how the ongoing work of the Initiative could be further developed to promote youth integration and women’s empowerment in the region.

Seminar on Civil Society Participation in Morocco's OGP Process, 29 September 2015 in Rabat

The seminar with civil society and youth associations provided the opportunity to discuss effective strategies to enlarge their engagement with the government and to include new actors.

In a strategic discussion with members of the OECD Civil Society Advisory Board, the preliminary report of the OECD report “Youth in the MENA region: How to bring them in” was discussed. The participants agreed that open government initiatives and tools can enhance the delivery of public services to youth and provide them with a gateway to influence national policies and enhance their overall participation in social, economic and political life.


Related Documents