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Report: 70% of Arab Youth Want to Leave Region

Arab League population experts warn 70% of Arab youth want to leave the Middle East to seek a better life elsewhere.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 11/16/2011, 6:52 PM

As the Arab Spring heads into a cold Islamic Winter, some three quarters of Arab youth want to migrate to countries outside the Middle East region, an Arab League official warned on Wednesday.

"Due to their poor enfranchisement in society and politics, and due to rising joblessness, 70 per cent of Arab youth want to migrate out of the region," Khalid Al Wahishi, director of Population Policy and Immigration for Arab League, was quoted as saying by the Qatari daily The Peninsula.

"We at Arab League have been warning member states at all our meetings to empower the youth," Al Wahishi told delegates and population experts at a meeting in Qatar.

"Unemployment, alarmingly high at 26 per cent, poor participation of youth and illiteracy are major hindrances to population policy development and implementation.

"The ratio of youth in the population of Arab countries is very high and requires efforts to empower them and raise their participation in politics,

"The changes taking place in some Arab countries clearly show that it is the youth of these states who have played a leading role in the reforms movement," he concluded.

According to Wahishi the Arab League has been arguing for several years that there was an urgent need to tackle the problems of unemployment in member-states and to empower the youth and raise their level of participation in society and politics.